5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hire the Wrong Person

Guest post from DDI’s Jazmine Boatman:

For some people, when perplexed about a frivolous decision
(Chilis or Olive Garden? Blue tie or green? Red shoes or black?), tossing a
coin and leaving the decision to chance can offer a lot of relief. What is the
real risk of having a sandwich instead of pasta for dinner, really? But when it
comes to bigger decisions, coins tend to not be the method of choice for savvy
decision makers. Or are they?
DDI’s most recent trend research, Global
Selection Forecast 2012
, tells
us that only 51% of newly hired employees are confident that they’ve made the
right decision to come work for you. That means their productivity is
suffering, and so is yours. It also means they’re probably looking for another
job right about now and are in the process of forcing you to go through the
entire painstaking hiring process once again. And it’s not just the new hires
that think so, HR agrees. We found that less than half of those in charge of their
organization’s staffing rate their hiring processes as effective. This means that
with the current processes, the odds for making good hiring decisions are worse
than they would have been simply tossing a coin.
While the consequences of more low-risk decisions like a meal
can last a few hours, the people you hire can affect you and your organization for
years to come. For these decisions with colossal impact, how can you increase
your odds for success?
The following are 5 questions you can ask yourself to KNOW MORE and GUESS LESS about who you hire:
1) Do you
know what you’re looking for?
Before you go to the store, you typically
create a shopping list. Otherwise, you’ll end up roaming the aisles and coming
home with less money in your pocket but still nothing to eat. Do you have a
shopping list for what your new hire has to be able and willing to do? Have you
outlined exactly what they need to know and have experienced?
2)  Do you
have an inside (wo)man for the job?
Before you open the doors to the hordes
of people out there looking for work, is there someone already in the
organization that you should be considering?
Particularly for leadership positions, internal candidates have a leg up
on the inner workings of your organization. A recent study (Bidwell, 2011)
found that external hires cost 20% more and performed worse on the job.
3)  Do you
know enough about your external candidates?
Gathering data about people is
complicated. Because people are complicated. You’re going to need a variety of
methods (e.g., interviews, tests, simulations) for gathering the critical
information you need to know about how candidates will perform on the job. In
fact, the organizations most effective at hiring use at least 3 different
tools. Find out more about these tools and how to conduct more effective
interviews in the
Global Selection Forecast 2012.
4)   Do your
candidates know enough about you and what they’re signing up for?
The more
you can share about the day-to-day job (e.g., projects they will work on,
people they will need to influence, time spent in meetings), the more informed candidates
can be in whether this is a job that (a) they will be good at, (b) they will
enjoy, and, (c) they will stay in for a long time to come.
5)  Do they
know how to make the impact you’re expecting?
They’re not mind-readers. Newly
hired employees need specifics about how to be successful once they’re on the
job. Who better to tell them than you? You have the information they need to
thrive. If you’ve gathered the right data during step 3, you have critical
information about what they need to leverage on Day 1 and what could prove to
be a barrier to their success. This information doesn’t belong in a file folder
down in HR, it is best used in the hands of hiring managers and their new
When it comes to increasing the
odds of making a critical hiring decision that will make your life easier and
benefit your company for years to come, the message is simple and clear: KNOW MORE and GUESS LESS.
About the author:
Jazmine Boatman manages DDI’s Center for Applied Behavioral
Research (CABER), which conducts and champions research on leadership and
talent in the workplace. She and her group work to ensure the ongoing
effectiveness of DDI solutions worldwide and fulfill the philosophy that talent
management practices should be evidence-based.
An industrial-organizational psychologist with special
expertise in leadership and measurement, Jazmine consults with clients and
leads evaluation studies that measure the results of DDI interventions. Jazmine
has provided thought leadership to DDI clients and associates and helped them
design measurement strategies to assess the implementation of their programs
and the execution of their objectives. Jazmine has consulted with numerous
Fortune 100 and 500 organizations such as Citigroup, The Hartford, Con-way
Inc., P&H Mining, YUM! Brands, Sara Lee, Schwan’s, T-Mobile, Goodyear, and
Texas Children’s Hospital.