Thursday, February 14, 2013

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 hires.

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.  


Unknown said...

Thanks for the article and sharing the research. Managing expectations of new hires is so critical.

Dr. Wesley said...

The information confirms my beliefs on making new hires. There is really no one source to validate whether you made the right decision or not; therefore every tool available must be explored.

Dr. Wesley A. Plummer

Jazmine Boatman said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment! You're right - it IS critical to remember that while candidates need to be cautious not to oversell their capabilities, hiring managers need to not oversell the jobs as well. People are what make an organization so hiring decisions are some of the most important decisions one can make.