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How To Hire Good Employees


Want To Hire the Best Candidate For The Job?

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As an HR consultant, I have helped many companies address a fundamental question: how to hire good employees. Usually, they come to me because they “have not had luck in hiring the right people.” They need help because they have found that just asking good interview questions and “using their gut,” are not full-proof methods of hiring. They speak to me about the difficulties and challenges they have experienced because they didn’t hire the right person. They talk about the time and money that it cost them to deal with an employee who was not a good fit for the position. Some company owners also reveal a realization that hiring someone “just like them” or who “thinks like them” now is not a good idea.

There Is Bias In Hiring

The challenge with hiring is that there is unconscious bias in hiring. For example, several studies demonstrated a negative bias against women being evaluated for positions traditionally or predominantly held by men (male sex-typed jobs). Also, a number of research studies support the notion that being physically attractive is an advantage when applying for a job. In a study by Watkins & Johnston, in 2000 they found that there is considerable empirical evidence that physical attractiveness impacts employment decision making, with the result that the more attractive an individual, the greater the likelihood that that person will be hired. This generalization is known as the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype (Dion, Berscheid & Walster, 1972). Another study found bias in hiring obese people concluding that hiring managers who held more negative automatic stereotypes about the obese were less likely to invite an obese job applicant in for an interview.

In my experience, many hiring managers tell me that they know how to hire good employees. When interviewing, they will hire people based on their “gut feeling,” or will hire those who think like they do, or have skills or attributes that they value. Sometimes hiring managers focus on hiring someone with certain skills and they do not focus enough on character traits, agency culture or other needs in the organization, department, or position. Group interviews are a better practice for hiring because they can help reduce bias. However, group interviews also have their flaws, especially if certain individuals in the group are allowed to dominate or influence the process and their biases take hold.

Brainstorming With SUBJECTER MATTER EXPERTs– Job Benchmarking

To begin, we go through what we call a “job benchmarking” process. This is essentially a brainstorming process where I get together Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). SME’s are ideally, 3-7 people who know the job well; current top performers, managers, and direct reports that manage the job have done the job, or have daily/weekly interaction laterally with the job. If the position does not exist consider bringing in outside peers to help guide a Key Accountabilities Session. Together, we meet to brainstorm and examine a list of questions about the open position. Job Benchmarking brainstorming questions include:

  • What is the purpose and objective of this position in the organization?  
  • Who are this position’s internal and external customers? 
  • How does the effectiveness and efficiency of this position affect the bottom-line of the company?  
  • If this job could talk- which of the job skills or personality characteristics would be identified as most important for success? And which would be a detriment? 
  • How are results measured for this position’s performance? 

We Create Key Accountabilities (KAs)

This is another 1-2 hour brainstorming session with the SMEs to determine 3 to 5 KAs: reasons why this job exists. We rank and weigh each KA to keep in mind the “big picture” results.

Each SMEs then completes an online Job Questionnaire

The Job Questionnaire gathers data on several measures related to the specific job.

The report provides insight into three distinct areas: behaviors, driving forces and the integration of these. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses each person possesses will lead to personal and professional development and a higher level of satisfaction for each.

The following is a description of the three main areas:


Behaviors are easily observable and indicate the preferred behavior we use to interact with our environment and others. This section of the report gives us information on the behaviors that are needed for success in this position. This tells us how someone in this position should act to ensure success in the job. This data is derived from questions on a DISC profile. The DISC questions ask about how the person in the position should respond to challenges, how they should influence others, how they should respond to rules and procedures, and about what you expect of their preferred pace of activity.

Driving Forces

This section of the report provides information on what should motivate or drive the person in this position. For example, if this is a sales position we want someone who likes to get to know people, is a good listener, has empathy, is competitive, and likes to network.  We know that each person is driven by a unique set of drivers; the why behind what they do. Understanding what drives them, as well as other people in your organization, can lower the chance of conflict and improve productivity.

Integrating Behaviors and Driving Forces

This section of the report will help blend the how and the why of interactions. Once you understand how behaviors and driving forces blend together, performance will be enhanced and whoever is in the position will experience an increase in satisfaction.

We Meet To Discuss Compiled Job Results

Once the SMEs complete an online job questionnaire. I then compile all results into a master report called a Multiple Respondent Report.

I present the multiple respondent report to the client reviewing the behaviors, motivators, and/or skills that were produced and how they relate back to the KAs.

The Ideal Candidate Form

The next step of this process is to complete an ‘Ideal Candidate Form.’ We do this by taking our Key Accountabilities and Benchmark and combining them with the hard skills required from the candidate. Some of the things you should consider in this process are:

What education or training qualifications do you expect the ideal candidate to have to be able to do the job?

What level of work experience are you looking for?

What specific skills and knowledge must they already have to do the job to the standard you require?

What communication skills do they require?

What overall personality/disposition are you looking for in the person?

What personal attributes must they have? Define them very clearly.

If you’d like to get a free download copy of the Ideal Candidate form with all the questions- we’d be happy to send it to you.

Compare Job Candidates To Our Job Benchmark

Once we have our job benchmark results and the ideal candidate information we begin to screen job applicants and then compare candidates to the job benchmark to see how closely they approximate our ideal candidate. Our proprietary Applicant Tracking System(ATS) known as the  Talent Management Plus™ (TMP) system by TTI Success Insights, can be used to screen all job applicants, or, if you already are using an ATS system-we can administer the assessment to only a select list of finalists.

There are many different types of assessments. The type of assessment you use is based upon the level of the position within the organization.  At the lowest level, we use the Talent Insights®  which takes about 20 minutes to complete. The Trimetrix DNA is used for a skilled job and takes around 30 minutes. And the Trimetrix HD is used for a leadership position and takes around 45 minutes. The reports give us detailed information on each candidate as well as side by side comparisons of candidates to the job benchmark.  

The type of information found in the reports includes the following categories; but note that at lower position levels less information is needed, so is not included in the assessment reports:

  • Potential Behavioral and Motivational Conflict
  • Potential Behavioral and Motivational Strengths
  • Ways to Communicate with the candidate
  • Ways not to Communicate with the candidate
  • Their Value to the Organization
  • Their behavioral descriptors; those words that describe each of their personal behavior styles
  • Their Ideal Environment identifies the ideal work environment based on their behavioral style and top four driving forces. This section identifies specific duties and responsibilities each person enjoys on the job.
  • Driving Forces Descriptors; the words that describe each of their primary driving forces. These words describe why each person does what they do and serve as a filter or driver of daily activities.
  • Competencies (personal skills needed for the job)
  • Acumen Indicators (clarity and bias in thinking) help you understand how you analyze and interpret your experiences. Your acumen, keenness, and depth of perception or discernment are directly related to your level of performance.

As you can see these assessments provide you with detailed information that allows you to compare the candidates to the benchmark and to each other.  This approach helps take the guesswork and bias out of hiring and will allow you to hire the best person for the job. If you do hire one or more of these candidates you can use the assessment data to make the onboarding process easier and to create a custom coaching and development plan.

Boston Business Coaching works with companies of all sizes and budgets to help them through this process. We are a certified Value Added Associate for TTI Success Insights Inc. TTI Success Insights is the world’s leading source for research-based, validated assessment and coaching tools that enable organizations to effectively meet their talent management needs, using our own patented solutions and products. For more information on any of the services mentioned in this article please schedule an appointment to learn more.

Or, if you’d like to see the level of detail that a report provides-take a look at the individual sample reports here

Take a look at the two final candidates comparison sample reports here

You can even view a sample Team report which we also do for teams


Interventions That Affect Gender Bias in Hiring: A Systematic Review

The Role Of Automatic Obesity Stereotypes In Real Hiring Discrimination.

Dion, K. K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is what is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24, 285-290.

Watkins, L. M. & Johnston, L. (2000). Screening job applicants: The impact of physical attractiveness and application quality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 8, 76-84.

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