As a leader, you have to hire new employees to drive growth in your organization. It can be a time-consuming and stressful responsibility. Not only is it critical to fill an open position with an individual who excels in the job role, they also must be a good fit for your organization.

However, it doesn’t always happen that way. A bad hire can result in negative consequences, including lost productivity, decreased team morale, and legal problems. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 69 percent of companies had been adversely impacted by a bad hire in 2012. 

It is getting harder to trust what you read in a resume today. For about $100, a job applicant can use a service like CareerExcuse.com to generate a remarkably impressive resume. And to back it up? Fake references on dummy websites in multiple industries ranging from IT to warehouse & logistics, social media, and health care. When you call to check the reference, a live operator answers the call and verifies the candidate’s job history, including facts like salary and start and end date. Scary, right?

A carefully developed hiring process can protect you from bringing on an employee who isn’t the right fit for your organizational culture. Here are some essential guidelines for crafting that process. They will help you hire employees who collaborate well with your team and are committed to producing high-quality work.

Get clear on the job role you’re hiring for.

The most important variable in determining a successful new hire is fit, not experience or a particular academic degree. The most talented and experienced person you find may look great on paper and have fantastic references, but if they are not a good fit for your organization the risk of turmoil, stress, and ultimate failure are quite high. There are four key areas where fit matters the most: with the job itself, with the team, with the manager, with the company’s culture/core values/mission/vision.

Determining whether a candidate is a good fit across these variables is the single biggest shortcoming of the typical hiring process. To do it well, the following two steps are essential:

  • Assess the candidate’s essential nature. This can only be accomplished with psychoanalytic testing that measures a broad range of characteristics to provide a window into how this person will perform on a daily basis. For example, if the candidate will need to lead a team, you will want to know if they have that natural skillset. You can ask them about their experience leading teams, and they will no doubt have a case or two to share – but assuming their rendition is accurate or predictive is delusional.  
  • Determine what the candidate must fit with. Many organizations do the testing, but they fail to determine what the “fit zone” is. Assessing fit requires understanding what the job/team/manager/cultural targets look like. A great place to start is by benchmarking the position with a proven approach that lays out the key requirements for the position in a much broader context than experience or skillset. For example, I worked with a large organization that was having trouble in several high-level, high-visibility positions supporting the CEO. The pattern was to bring in “the best and the brightest” candidates selected by a committee of senior officers. Great talent moved into these important roles and would typically last less than six months. Once we benchmarked the positions and provided the target zone for fit, the selection process focused on the key variables and talent never before considered were moved into the roles with remarkable success.

Psychoanalytic testing will also come in handy to determine whether the candidate possesses the soft skills they will need for the position. Experienced hiring managers will tell you that’s it’s much more difficult to coach employees with behavioral problems than it is to teach them the technical aspects of the job role.

Be honest about the job you’re selling.

Avoid making a job seem more glamorous than it really is. State the responsibilities clearly in the want ad and during the interview. Keep what you’re selling and what the employee gets in alignment. Potential employees should know what the job will entail if they are hired, not be surprised that the role doesn’t live up to their expectations. Social media sites related to the experience of new hires are rife with comments about how the employer never delivered on promises made pre-hire. The current talent crisis has apparently turned some HR reps into used car salesmen hyping the position description and creating expectations that are never realized. 

Look for people who have the same values as your organization.

“What makes a great team is people who believe what you believe. If they believe what you believe, they are going to work for you with blood, sweat, and tears. If they don’t believe, they’re going to work for your money.” – Simon Sinek, author, motivational speaker, & organizational consultant

When you hire individuals who hold similar values to your organization, retention increases and you have more long-lasting, valuable employees on your team. While you can provide resources to help an employee do their job better, you can’t necessarily teach them to align with your organization’s values. Effectively communicate your company’s vision to job candidates, so they are clear on the organizational culture you have.

Take the time to create an effective process that enables you to hire employees who work best with your team and fit well into your organization’s culture. This will help you to drive the business forward and prevent you from spending time recovering when an employee who doesn’t fit your culture leaves.

Key Takeaways:

  • A bad hire can result in numerous negative consequences, including lost productivity, decreased team morale, and legal problems.
  • A carefully-developed hiring process that focuses on determining the right fit can ensure you bring on employees who will successfully integrate into the team and company culture.
  • When you hire individuals who hold similar values to your organization, retention increases and you have more long-lasting, valuable employees on your team.

Referenced resources: 

How to Prevent Hiring Disasters, Amy Gallo, HBR Ascend.

What We Do – Fit First, Hiring Smart, HiringSmart.com.

Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience That Drives High-Performance Cultures, Don Rheem, ForbesBooks.

Self-awareness is key for successful leadership. As a leader, your abilities and limitations directly affect both your team and the company. The Enneagram – its roots stretching back millennia – offers robust and perceptive tools for deepening your understanding of self (why you do what you do, what is your motivation, how you make decisions), which in turn helps you understand your team in productive and practical ways. In this seminar, we tailor Enneagram training specifically and purposefully for management teams. Learn how to effectively manage different types of people, resolve conflicts quickly, understand personal motivations and leadership opportunities, and much more, with our Unstanding Your Leadership Type: An Introduction to the Enneagram Workshop.