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5 Best Practices to Hire the Right Person!

To say that hiring the right person is challenging right now is a bit of an understatement. But here are 5 best practices you can consider to elevate your hiring practices.

(1) Determine what is REALLY needed for the job.

Oftentimes we may overstate the requirements for a job, eliminating some viable candidates. For example, maybe you have an opening where you are requiring a bachelor’s degree but it’s not really necessary to be successful in the job. And there may even be times when you understate what’s needed, leading to hiring someone that will struggle to meet job requirements.

It’s important to:

  • Determine what education, work experience, skills, values, and other traits are REALLY needed for the job. And be sure not to discount soft skills like critical thinking, a positive attitude, a good work ethic, etc.

  • Look at the Dealmakers and Dealbreakers

    • Dealmakers - What are the common assets of people who have succeeded in the job? (skills, experiences, values, education, behaviors).

    • Dealbreakers - What are the common deficits of employees who have not succeeded in the job? (unhelpful behaviors, conflicting values, counterproductive actions).

(2) Train your Interviewers

Good interviewing doesn’t come naturally, it must be learned! And lack of training can get you in legal hot water.

Train interviewers on:

  • Biases and how to overcome them including biases such as first impression, stereotyping, recency, halo/horn, contrast effect, and more.

  • The types of questions to ask – and what not to ask from a legal standpoint.

  • How to run an effective interview – This included everything from putting the candidate at ease to mirroring to probing, listening, getting comfortable with silence, identifying red flags and more.

*Need some help with training your interviewers. Contact us at

(3) Use good questions and a well-thought-out structured interview process.

The questions you ask in the interview process are obviously important. Clearly, open-ended questions will glean more information than close-ended questions. Of course, you are going to ask questions about and probe into their work experience and education. In addition, I recommend incorporating two types of questions.

  • Behavioral – based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

  • Situational – share situations that the candidate may encounter as part of the job and ask how they would handle them.

You will also need to decide what type(s) of an interview to use – one-on-one, panel, video, group, a combination, etc.

Here are some additional tips to make the most of the interview process:

  • Utilize a structured process – asking similar questions and using the same process for all candidates for a particular job.

  • Employ multiple interviewers - at least 3 are recommended to get a rounded perspective.

  • Provide a realistic job preview – You don’t want to paint your organization in an unrealistic light. If you do, when the candidate comes on board, they aren’t likely to stay! Share a realistic view, take them on a tour, and let them preview what they would be doing - and meet some coworkers.

  • Consider utilizing assessments – If computer or technical skills are needed as part of the job, it’s a good idea to incorporate a related assessment. Personality assessments are sometimes used as a data point. I personally haven’t come across many that I think are too applicable. But I like the Working Genius as it relates specifically to work and provides insight into an individual’s preferences and frustrations.

  • Have them do some real work if possible – This probably isn’t practical for all jobs but, where it’s feasible, it’s a great strategy. If the individual is interviewing for a Sales position, have them do a pitch. For an analytics position, have them do a project. You can get creative, and it will give you some great insight!

(4) Look out for red flags and don’t settle

Here are some red flag examples:

  • Late to the interview or multiple reschedules

  • Poor personal appearance

  • No clear purpose or goals.

  • Don’t seem to be a team player.

  • Lack of a consistent work history/gaps.

  • Lack of ability to answer questions effectively.

  • Consistent negative comments about past employers/managers.

  • Answers that are vague or unrelated.

  • Stated skills and/or experience that don’t pass the sniff test.

  • Don’t ignore your hunches – If you feel something is off, it probably is

It can be tempting to rush into a decision as it’s a gap that needs to be filled. But don’t do it! We all know how damaging and time-consuming it can be for the team, HR, and the manager if you hire the wrong person. I’ve heard it said – “If it’s not a definite yes, it’s a no.”

(5) Hire team players

Last but certainly not least, hire team players. According to Patrick Lencioni, the ideal team player is humble, hungry, and smart. He defines these traits as follows:

Humble – Patrick says this is the most important of the three. It involves a lack of excessive ego or concerns about status. People that are humble are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention of their own.

Hungry – People that are hungry are always looking for more to do, to learn, and new things to take on. They don’t have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent.

Smart – This definition is a little different than you might think. Patrick defines it as having common sense about people. People that are smart ask good questions, listen well, and engage effectively with others. Patrick says this one is the most coachable of the three traits – and, if the person is humble, they will be coachable.

How do you assess, humble, hungry and smart? Patrick suggests some questions that can be asked in his book, The Ideal Team Player.

I hope this information has been helpful and will enable you to further enhance your hiring practices. If we can assist you further with your hiring strategies or interviewer training, please feel free to reach out!

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