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When you make a hiring decision, don’t settle for second best. Sure, it’s nice to have a certain level of comfort that tells you a candidate will do all right in the position. Maybe that assumption is based on the individual’s impressive resume, strong interview persona, network of professional contacts and previous job success. All good, of course. But you want more than just a good fit. You want a perfect fit.

Gulp. Hits home, right? So, what’s a hiring manager to do in order to reach that ultimate hiring height?

Benchmark the Job

By benchmarking a job up front, you’ll develop an objective, measurable set of criteria to help you make the right candidate match. This enables you to avoid hiring decisions based on such premises as selecting someone who best matches your own style or that of your top performers. (Again, not necessarily bad qualities. But not the litmus test for performance excellence, either.)

  • Start with the “hard needs” of the position. These often are more clearly defined. They include educational requirements, experience, industry knowledge, and specific technical proficiencies such as Microsoft Office skills or commercial truck driving.
  • Develop a list of key accountabilities. These are three to six things that must be done as part of a job, because of their impact on business. They should occupy about 80 percent of your new hire’s time at work.
  • Assess the “soft skills” required. Different positions call for different personal traits. Increasingly, research has shown that deficiencies in areas like problem solving, multitasking or team building have had more to do with success in a position than hard skills.

Benchmarking is a critical step as you develop, revise or fine-tune job descriptions. And in order to hit that hiring home run, these steps have to be complete before you even consider stepping up to the plate.

Have a Plan – And Stick to It

Before you begin candidate selection or interviews, formulate a structured hiring plan. Call involved team members together for a strategy session to review the job description and related tools, and outline the plan and time frame for resume review, prescreening, background and reference checking, and interviewing.

Candidate Assessment is Critical

We won’t dwell on interviewing techniques here; that’s a topic in and of itself. But once interviews are complete and the field has been narrowed to your top two or three finalists, it’s time to reconvene your team and hold a candidate assessment. Here’s where your up-front benchmarking and planning work pays off, as a clear leader to fill the position emerges:

  • Have everyone share their impressions.
  • Discuss any comments from the candidates’ references and/or background checks.
  • Review checklist items from your benchmarking exercise.
  • Repeat the process for each candidate.
  • If necessary, take a vote.

Hiring the right candidate, the first time around, is good business on a number of levels. It improves productivity, boosts morale, and saves time, money and the unpleasant side effects of having to rehire.

In many cases, working with a professional staffing partner can make the job easier, more efficient and less stressful as you continue to drive your HR and business success. Contact the experts at BrainWorks to learn more about this and other innovative hiring strategies.


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