Expert Commentary

Business Leaders Need a Plan for Hiring

Your calendar is filled up, clients have pressing needs, and your company is growing faster than you can keep up. Despite the time constraints, business leaders need a plan for hiring decisions to fill job openings as your company continues to expand.


Employee Hiring, Development, and Retention
February 2018

Unfortunately, many business leaders push the hiring process down their to-do list. Instead, they rely on so-called gut instincts or a cursory review of résumés to make important hiring decisions.

What is the result of this decision to use subjective factors when hiring? It often leads to turnover and a loss of productivity from having to repeatedly onboard, train, and offboard employees who were not the best fit for their assigned role.

For your company to continue growing, you need to reduce the risk of turnover and increase the return on investment in your human capital. This is accomplished by forming a plan for hiring decisions that aligns each candidate with the job opening you are hiring for.

Otherwise, without a plan, you will not know what the ideal candidate looks like, how to identify the ideal candidate, and how to distinguish candidates with similar résumés. This means hiring the wrong candidate for your job opening. Consider using the following tools to find the candidate that best aligns with your job opening.

Hiring Tool: Identify Core Competencies

The first step in formulating your hiring plan is identifying the core competencies that you know will lead to success in the position you are hiring for. Without establishing these important benchmarks, you are unable to determine whether a candidate aligns with the competencies of the ideal person in this role.

After you document the competencies you are looking for in the position, have each candidate complete an assessment that measures the individual's core competencies. The evidence you gather about each candidate will allow you to determine which candidates best align with the position.

Completing this step will also allow you to identify the candidates that should be advanced to a behavioral interview to unlock more evidence about their competencies in a workplace setting.

Hiring Tool: Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

Before you or your team conducts a behavioral interview, you need to prepare for success. This includes ensuring that everyone involved in the hiring process is trained on how to conduct a behavioral interview and understands the purpose of the interview.

Preparing for success also means examining the candidate's résumé to determine whether there is alignment with the position.

  • What does the résumé say about their motivational patterns?
  • What type of jobs has the candidate held at past companies?
  • How long was the candidate at each previous company?
  • What type of companies has the candidate gravitated toward in the past?

The answers to these questions will guide the behavioral interview questions that you or your team craft for each interview. Once your interview guide is prepared, you will be ready to conduct a behavioral interview.

Hiring Tool: Conduct a Behavioral Interview

The importance of the behavioral interview is focusing on the core competencies that match a successful person in the role you are interviewing for. Because you emphasized the preparation step before the interview, your team will be able to unlock information about each candidate's past behavior in a previous role that is similar to the role they are applying for in your company. This is vital to unlock details about the candidate to determine if they match the ideal persona for the role.

Within this process, the behavioral interview questions will guide your interview team on how to gather evidence about past situations to determine what task was required, the action the individual took, and the result of their action.

Many candidates will try to present subjective opinions about what they would do in your company if faced with similar circumstances. The behavioral interview solves that problem by ensuring that your team and the candidate stay focused on gathering the candidate's actual behavior in a similar context to understand whether they will be a good fit and be productive in your company.

Preparing for the behavioral interview will also allow your team to understand how and when to use secondary probing techniques to unlock more evidence about the candidate's competencies. This is important for continuing to guide the candidate away from hypothetical situations and providing more information about real events that target the competencies you are looking for in the position.

When your team completes this behavioral interview process, you will have measurable information at your disposal to determine which candidate to hire.

Complete Your Plan for Hiring Decisions

To recap, the following is the structure of your plan for hiring decisions.

  • Document the core competencies of a successful person in the role you are hiring for.
  • Evaluate the assessment of each candidate to find alignment with the position.
  • Prepare behavioral interview questions that target key competencies.
  • Conduct a behavioral interview that reveals evidence about each candidate's past behavior in a similar context.

Now you have the necessary information to separate candidates and hire the person that best aligns with the core competencies found in successful individuals for the role you are hiring for. This is far more reliable than making a hiring decision based on gut feelings or subjective opinions about a candidate.

The results of implementing this plan for hiring decisions are a more productive workforce, greater opportunities for your company to continue to grow, and a reduction in turnover. That is a recipe for success for business leaders on a busy schedule.


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.

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