Four Mistakes Leaders Make when Hiring for a Mission Critical Position
If you look at the criteria for hiring mission-critical employees like a pie, it would be cut into four pieces; interviewing, reference checking, education and experience, and psychological assessment. Each piece of the pie is weighted differently by companies and hiring managers, but each is typically weighted somewhere between 20-40%. These factors tell the story about the candidate’s ability to achieve job success. There is a tendency to over-rely on interviews, education, experience and reference checking as the sole indicators of success, and not putting enough value on formal assessments to make fully informed decisions.
And, when hiring for a mission-critical position such as a C-Suite leader, project manager and direct seller who impact a company’s growth trajectory, following gut instincts is not the best strategy.
There are four mistakes that business leaders often make when filling a vital role:
First, there is a tendency for hiring managers to fall in love with a candidate in 10 minutes and then spend the rest of the time defending their position. For example, if the CEO is interviewing a CFO and their personalities mirror one another or are pacing with similar characteristics and mannerisms, they will connect personally, but that doesn’t mean that the CFO is the best hire. Once a bond is made it can be challenging to put the candidate in perspective.
They don’t use assessments correctly. Many well-conceived assessments offer insights. However, companies choose only one personality profile that doesn’t say enough about what the candidate is going to do on the job. It may describe them but is rarely a predictor of performance in various job circumstances. Instead, they should combine a psychologist interview with multiple complementary assessment instruments to get a genuinely predictive view of the candidate.
Another mistake is when assessments are used too early in the process, they may too often eliminate potentially successful candidates. Human engagement should be a key pre-qualifier, although they should analyze the qualifications to determine if they are worth meeting or talking to at least once. Assessments are most advantageously used to determine the best of a final pool of 1 to 3 candidates.
Hiring managers don’t consider cultural fit enough. It is vital that there is a candid discussion around company conduct standards and expectations early on in the process. This can also be done by gearing questions in the assessment that evaluate the culture that a candidate will thrive or die in. Some examples of culture questions are:
Tell me about a time when you had to make a critical decision. How did you go about it?
Describe the process you use to communicate and solve problems with your team.
Give me an example of an environment you’ve thrived in, and an example of a setting that made you feel uncomfortable.
What do you think are the best ways to engage and motivate people?
In most cases, best organizations have a complementary mix of styles, but it is essential to identify the right people that will thrive in your specific environment.
If you are hiring a mission-critical or key position and you really want to make a highly informed decision, I invite you to have a conversation. Whether or not we work together, I will provide insights on our call that can help guide you during the hiring process.