Expert Commentary

Answer 5 Questions before Hiring

With the goal of reducing the risk that accompanies hiring any new employee, you must begin incorporating certain steps that can significantly reduce the risk inherent in a hiring decision.


Employee Hiring, Development, and Retention
May 2020

To best reduce these hiring risks, the following five questions need to be answered "Yes" by the hiring manager before every hire.

1. Can this Person Do the Job?

The first question is the one that most hiring managers focus on. It is the question that most industrial psychologists are asked to help answer. Here, the focus is on the candidate and his or her skills, abilities, and expertise. 

This question is often answered on a sliding scale ranging from "perfectly suited for this job" to "not a chance." Many companies address this question by testing candidates to see if they can do the job. While an affirmative answer to this question is critical, you are still flirting with very high-risk hiring if you stop your investigation here.

2. Does this Person Want To Do this Job?

The second question requires greater sophistication in both the assessment and interviewing process. This question addresses the candidate's internal interests and motivations. Often people are capable of performing specific tasks at superior levels but have a strong aversion toward the doing of those tasks. These aversions toward positions in sales, customer service, management, finance, accounting, and team-oriented positions can often be identified before you hire the person.

3. Does this Person Want To Do this Job for Our Company?

The third question is even more specific. While this question is still focused on the candidate, it now adds the character, environment, and condition of your company. Many companies "rob" their competitors' top performers only to have those people fail miserably in the new environment. Arriving at an answer to this question not only requires the matching of values, "personality styles," and benefits packages but also includes measuring the candidate's ability to acclimate, win others, and work within a specific type of political environment. 

Does your company have a power block that will "hang the new employee out to dry"? Will this candidate be able to win the support and protection of those who can help him or her succeed?

4. Will this Person Work Well for this Specific Boss?

The fourth question is an extension of the third. Here, we are talking about personality matches and a whole lot more. 

Management and relating styles are more than neutral differences between people. How a boss interacts, responds, delegates, oversees, corrects, and protects his or her subordinates have everything to do with the energy the subordinates have to do their jobs. When a mismatch occurs, the subordinates spend their time and energy doing what they need their manager to do. When a match occurs, the subordinates are energized and motivated to accomplish what they were hired to do. Too often, capable self-disciplined employees leave their positions solely because their managers micromanaged them. 

5. Is this Person Our Best Choice?

The final question comes out of the laws of practical thinking. Normally, people think that this question is automatically "Yes" if they have affirmative answers to the first four questions. This question is principally concerned with finding the candidate that best fulfills the first four questions. But, too often, companies hire someone without ever interviewing a second or third candidate. They do this for any number of "good" reasons, but the net effect is that they significantly limit their possibilities and take needless risks by hiring this way. But this question goes beyond just comparing the top candidate with all other prospects. This question forces hiring managers to readdress the thinking that led them to begin the interviewing process in the first place. 

Conclusion

While most business owners understand these concepts and can see the value of such a hiring process, they often disregard the chasm that exists between what they know to be good business practices and what is actually practiced in their companies. When they consider that the costs of an unhappy or incompetent employee can be more than 20 times that individual's annual salary, an additional level of effort to minimize these risks becomes a priority. 

Your risks can be reduced considerably by developing a hiring process that objectively measures the applicant's skills, like the ZERORISK Hiring System, whether they really want to perform the tasks necessary to succeed, and how they will fit into the organization's culture and work with their manager.

Just because you have an open position doesn't mean you have to fill it right away. Finding the best person to fit the role will serve you best in the long run. Make sure you ask yourself these five questions prior to every hire.


Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser.

Like This Article?

IRMI Update

Dive into thought-provoking industry commentary every other week, including links to free articles from industry experts. Discover practical risk management tips, insight on important case law and be the first to receive important news regarding IRMI products and events.

Learn More