Is Your Hiring Process Like Playing Roulette?

Take the gamble out of the hiring process.  If your current hiring process is subjective and at best giving you 50/50 odds of making a good hire, then learn how to quit hiring on a “roll of the dice” or a “Gut” feeling.  Learn how to have a hiring process that is objective and gives you an 80% chance of making a good hire. With human beings they have not invented the method for 100% odds yet but here is a good 80% odds hiring process.

Before I got into the Executive Search industry, I was in corporate America working as the Director of Recruiting for a large sales organization. Sales is notorious for having high turnover and this company was no exception.  When I started, they had a better than 54% rate of turnover among their Sales Professionals.  That means they had less than 50/50 odds of hiring someone who would stay.  If there was ever a proving ground for finding a method for hiring the right people, this was it.  We typically would hire over 200 sales professional a year.   With that volume we tried several things… but nothing seemed to work until we learned this one fact of life when it comes to human beings.   “The best predictor of future performance is based on a person’s past performance.”  We built our hiring process around this piece of wisdom with the results being we were able to reduce turnover by more than 50%. We build our hiring process around finding evidence in a candidates’ past performance in 5 strategic areas which we called the 5S’s.  

  1. Stability… How long had they been staying on their jobs? With buyouts and acquisitions, the average tenure of an American on their job is about 3.8 years.  So, go over each of their career moves and find out why they moved.  Was it beyond their control or was it a problem in performance or attitude?  Find the evidence.
  2. Skills… This is usually the easiest item to assess. They either have the skills you are looking for or they don’t.
  3. Success… Have they been flying under the radar? The real question is do they have evidence showing they have grown in responsibility and results.  
  4. Salary… Find the evidence by asking, “What did you W-2 last year?” How much was salary?  How much was Bonus?   When a person takes a step back in income they are going to be on your team until a better opportunity comes their way.
  5. Social… You can’t teach Character and you can’t teach Attitude; you have to hire it.  You are looking for people with like values.  Evidence for the social fit is found in a good reference check.  Where you ask questions like:

1. How would you rate this candidate’s ability to adapt to change in the workplace?

2. How would you rate this candidate’s ability to handle stress in the workplace?

3. How would you rate this candidate’s ability to communicate with non-technical users?

4. How would you rate this candidate’s ability to get along with difficult customers internal  or external?

5. How would you rate this candidate’s overall leadership abilities?

When you meet the candidate, remember your first impression will be the first impression your clients will get.  Make sure you like the impression… see them through your clients’ eyes. 

A lot of companies spend time talking to all the wrong people.  The guy I used to buy all my cars from said, “Mike the longer they are on the lot, the closer they are to buying a car”.   This principle can work for you or against you.   If the wrong candidate is on your lot and you are spending time interviewing them, you are about to “buy the wrong car” (hire the wrong candidate).   On the other, hand if you are spending time only with candidates that have the 5S’s then you will hire great candidates.

There is nothing subjective about the 5S’s they either have the evidence or they don’t.  This is very objective.  Don’t miss good candidates that are lousy resume writers.  You can’t find the evidence you need off a typical resume.  Get your recruiters to dig in make the calls and qualify your candidates against the 5S’s for you.   If they have the evidence, then interview them.  It is a very objective decision.  Don’t over think it… if you can find a candidate that has stability in their life and in their work history… if you find a candidate that has the right skills… if you find a candidate that has been successful taking on more responsibility… If you have a candidate that is in the right salary range… If you have a candidate that will fit in socially with your team… Then don’t over think it …

Hire Them!!!

One last word.  With the current 3.5% unemployment many employers are still using their old hiring process designed for when candidates were more plentiful.  Make sure your hiring process moves things forward very quickly.  Don’t let some other employer beat you to the punch and hire your good 5’S candidate before you are able to get them through your hiring process.


    The right process ensures successful recruiting results.

    Career Development Partners offers solutions for companies who, due to limited time and resources, are seeking a more collaborative and cost savings solution.

    We have many options to fit your needs, situations and processes.  Contact us for more information, 918.293.0500 or email:

    Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

    Written By Mike Duke

    Mike is a Certified Personnel Consultant and President of Professional Search for Career Development Partners. Mike is a successful entrepreneur and people developer.

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