How to Hire the Person Who Looks Wrong, But is Right

By: Brian Moore

A lot of you who are reading this, no doubt need to recruit new staff from time to time, but I bet many of you would say that it's not one of your favourite tasks, either because of the time it takes, or because you don't fully trust your skills as an interviewer

We all know how costly it can be to hire the wrong person, and we've all probably made that mistake at least once, but we also know the satisfaction of hiring the right person. When interviewing, there are 4 categories of people to be aware of - 2 that you should hire and 2 that you should avoid. Here are the 4 categories:

1. Looks right, is right (an easy decision - hire this person)
2. Looks wrong, is wrong (another easy decision - don't hire this person)
3. Looks right, is wrong (a harder decision but don't hire this preson)
4. Looks wrong, is right (the most difficult decision, but you should hire this person)

Lets look at number 4 in more detail...Looks wrong, is right.......this person is generally not selected for the job and may end up joining one of your competitors, perhaps to your ultimate regret. The question is, what can you do to avoid letting this person slip though your fingers?

Companies rely on a range of selection techniques to help them decide who they think is the right person. These techniques have varying levels of sophistication: the most basic is "gut instinct," which is a decision based simply on how you feel about the person; the most sophisticated is "high performance modelling", which involves building a model from the competency profiles of the best performers in your organisation and then using that model as a template for recruiting new staff. Between those two techniques are others including structured interviewing, psychological assessment and competency based recruitment

When recruiting, the goal is to identify and select the person with the best combination of skills, knowledge and attributes. The person's skills and knowledge are their capacity to perform against the skills and knowledge required for the job, whilst their attributes reflect their needs, values and interests, and identify whether they have the attitude required to succeed in the job and the company's culture. The best combination of these 3 competencies should result in maximum performance, satisfaction, productivity and tenure

The 5 different selection techniques that I've mentioned can all measure skills, knowledge and attributes, but at varying levels of depth and success

Think of how many people you've interviewed over the years and ask yourself how many more successful hires you could have made, if you had used a more sophisticated selection technique. I bet many of you have made some decisions based on "gut instinct" and regretted it later. These people could have easily fitted the "looks wrong, is right" profile, but were missed because you judged them on too little information. Maybe you or the person was simply having a bad day

Hiring new staff is a major investment, so maybe you should consider making a similar investment in your selection technique. The more sophisticated the technique you use, the greater probability you will identify the person who "looks wrong, but is right"

Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to discuss this important issue further and I look forward to our paths crossing again soon

Be your best and love your life

Human Resources
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