3 Silver Bullets to Hiring the Best

By Bill Bonnstetter

For years, companies have been searching for a “silver bullet” when it comes to hiring superior performers for specific jobs. Increasingly as of late, we are hearing hiring managers from large companies complain, “I cannot find anyone to fill these empty positions.” Perhaps it is not the available workforce that is letting them down. Instead, it could be the outdated hiring methods still being used by those in charge of hiring.

Times have changed, and so have hiring techniques. No longer can those who hire rely on the old rubrics of education and experience as the one-two-punch of uncovering ideal candidates. If education and experience always leads to superior performance, then all people with an education and experience would be successful. We know not all lawyers, doctors, nurses and CPAs are successful even though they have degrees and certificates that demonstrate proficiency. It is estimated that a majority – some research states as high as 80 percent — of all people hired are interviewed based on education and experience. According to hiring website Monster.com, a tendency to hire sales people based on experience alone most likely means hiring managers are side-stepping the hard work of developing and training staff properly.

Hiring managers or business owners who instead adopt a multi-dimensional view of resumes and candidates are more likely to hire the correct people.

People have many different attributes and talents such as behavior, skills, motivators, education, experience and worldviews that will predispose them to success in a given job. The first step – before hiring begins – is to reflect on what this job will require. Create a comprehensive list of these skills, talents and attributes, not based on a person but based on the job itself. Think about what the job would say, if it could talk. Use these attributes as the main screening factors.

Once that is complete, load up on these three (silver) bullet items:

Analyze behaviors – What behaviors do your candidates routinely engage in? Every job is unique and can require a different set of behaviors. Sales people should have a degree of competitiveness that might show up in the interview by pointing out past achievements or through a participation in sports. Other behaviors such as decisiveness or analytical thinking can also be ferreted out during screening, and can be major advantages to the job as you’ve defined it.

Understand motivators – Is your candidate motivated by financial success? These types of people are best in sales or commission type positions. By helping others or making other people better? Consider these types of candidates better for an inside sales or customer service role.

Assess personal skills – Is your candidate passionate about continuous learning? Then a role as a social media manager or a researcher, which both require constant inquiry and learning in a fast-paced setting, might be the best fit.

While just these three silver bullet approaches will help increase the likelihood of hiring a person ideally suited to your position, the more aspects you can screen, the better your company’s hiring will become. Investing in the process of hiring with your time and patience will ultimately pay off with better hires, who are more suited to success and superior performance on the job. In addition, with these employees in place, companies will have lower turnover and experience less lost income associated with dipping retention.

Finally, instead of lamenting the lack of quality candidates, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “I’ve found perfect candidates for each of my open positions!”

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