Choosing The Right People

Recently I wrote a blog sharing insights on hiring people who are aligned with the culture of your organisation. Today’s Karen Gately blog explores assessing competence as well as other aspects of ‘fit’ that form an equally important part of your hiring decisions.

Ultimately the quality of the decisions you make in choosing the ‘right’ candidate requires your assessment be focused equally on ‘fit’ and competence. ‘Fit’ is about more than values and behaviours and includes alignment of the individual’s career aspirations and role preferences with the job opportunity. Competence is the candidate’s ability to effectively apply their knowledge, skills and experience to get the job done and therefore requires abilities that relate to the unique complexities, challenges and environment of both your business and industry.

Below are some of the critical questions you should consider in relation to each of the aspects of the candidate assessment model shown above.  Consideration should be given to these questions when undertaking all steps of the recruitment and selection process.  This includes when you:

  • Read candidate CVs and application letters
  • Listen to their answers during interviews
  • Receive feedback via reference checks
  • Discuss the candidates application with other members of the recruitment panel
  • Prepare performance and development plans for the successful candidate

Assessing Competence

To understand whether the candidate has the ability to succeed it is critical that you explore how capable they are of doing the job as well as their ability to grow with the role and organisation over time. Important questions I encourage you to ask yourself include:

  • Is the candidate capable of performing the job on day one?  Is that important?
  • Have they demonstrated adequate awareness and depth of understanding of the role’s major tasks, responsibilities, challenges and complexities?
  • Have the answers given reflected the appropriate level of knowledge and skill?
  • How much training will the candidate need in order to perform the role to expected standards? Is your organisation willing / able to provide the training necessary?
  • At what standard do you expect this candidate to be capable of performing in the role?
  • What is their level of potential in the role? Can you envisage the candidate having the capacity to learn as the demands of the role grow over time?

Assessing Career Fit

For the successful candidate to be engaged and committed it is crucial that the role is a valued career opportunity aligned with their aspirations.  If they perceive the opportunity to be good career move it is more likely they will be fulfilled and stay for a reasonable period of time.   That is not to suggest that everyone is looking for career progression including hierarchical advancement – the opportunity just needs to be aligned with what they want to do next in their career. You need to ensure candidates don’t merely see the role as a stepping stone to something else in the short term.  Ultimately if they are not motivated to do the job on offer you will struggle to keep them focused and committed for any period of time.  If your goal is to keep people over the longer term it’s also important to assess their ability to build a career within your business.  Key questions I encourage you to ask yourself include:

  • What are the candidate’s medium term career goals?
  • What are the candidate’s long term career aspirations?
  • Is it possible your organisation will be able to provide the ‘next step’ opportunity for the candidate?
  • Does their desired career path align with the organisation’s likely direction and needs?
  • Do you consider this candidate to have long term potential with your organisation? If yes, why? For example do they show leadership potential?
  • Is the candidate likely to be a stable and reliable staff member for a team needing stability?

Assessing Role Fit

The core tasks and responsibilities of the position need to match with what the candidate is looking for in a job. In other words, the types of work 9including key priorities and challenges) need to be aligned with their preferences. For example, an HR Manager looking to focus on leadership development and staff engagement is unlikely to be happy in a role that demands a strong focus on the establishment of operational procedures.  While they may accept the role, it is likely over time they will either seek to hire staff to take on the tasks they don’t want to do or ultimately look for another opportunity more closely aligned with work preferences. Important questions to consider include:

  • Will the role provide the necessary reward and challenge to ensure job satisfaction in the short to medium term?
  • Do the majority of tasks and responsibilities align with their work preferences?
  • For how long is the candidate likely to find job satisfaction in this position?  Does this suit your requirements?
  • Are they well suited to the role? i.e. do their skills and attributes suit the job?
  • Is it likely that the candidate will be motivated to grow with the role over time?
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