Shannon Howard is a Content Producer at The Predictive Index, the leader in talent optimization. She spends her time researching and writing on how organizations can design, hire, and inspire winning teams.
Making your next hire the right hire is crucial for your company, especially considering 31 percent of employees quit within the first six months on the job and the cost of turnover can be up to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary.
While some people have an intuitive knack for hiring well, there’s a discipline the rest of us can follow to improve the chances of making the right hire and retaining top talent.
Taking a talent optimization approach to hiring
Talent optimization is a four-part discipline that helps organizations align their people strategy with their business strategy. When taking a talent optimization approach to hiring, you’ll use insights derived from people data to hire top talent and build high-performing teams.
Traditional hiring relies on one of the biggest recruiting mistakes. That is, the focus on resumes, interviews, and reference checks. And while these are important sources of information about a job candidate, science has shown that collecting and utilizing additional data via behavioral and cognitive assessments and performing structured interviews better predicts job success.
Factoring in this additional information gives you a more holistic perspective of a candidate and how well they would fit the role, the team, and the organization so you can find the right person for the position.
How to hire the right person
The first step to hiring the right employee for the position is to define what role this person will play and metrics for success. Consider the following questions:
- Is this the right role at the right time, or is there another role that should take priority?
- Who will this employee report to?
- What key areas will this employee work on?
- What aspects of these key work areas will the employee own?
- How will you know if this person is successful after 90 days?
- What are any key milestones along the way?
- What key skills does this employee need?
- Which skills are necessary and which are preferred?
- If the new hire does not have the skills, who will teach them those skills and in what timeframe?
- What other soft skills, experiences, or relationships would contribute to this individual’s success?
Use the responses to these questions to create a document of roles and responsibilities, along with supporting metrics, that will help you find and choose the right candidate for the job.
Finding the right behavioral fit
When hiring for an open position, consider whether or not an applicant is a behavioral fit for the team they’ll sit on. When we hire someone whose behavioral traits don’t match the responsibilities of the role, we set them up to fail. Study after study tells us that job fit is a significant contributor to employee engagement and productivity.
Let’s look at this in action. Let’s say you have an individual who’s naturally very precise and accurate. Those qualities lend heavily to roles such as accounting or quality assurance, but they may become a hindrance in positions that require employees to move quickly and try out new ideas, such as marketing or sales.
When you’re thinking about the perfect candidate for the role, consider what behavioral traits the right candidate would possess.
- Do you need someone who is independent or collaborative?
- Do you need someone who works well on a team or someone who works independently?
- Will this person be doing the same kind of work daily or will their responsibilities vary?
- Will this person need to work methodically or will they have an opportunity to work at a faster than average pace?
- Do you need someone who is meticulous and disciplined or flexible and adaptable?
Incorporate these behavioral traits into your job description and interviews to ensure you’re choosing a candidate who’s a good behavioral fit for the role.
Finding the right cognitive fit
In addition to determining behavioral traits and culture fit required for the role, you’ll want to set cognitive requirements as well.
Cognitive ability refers to learning agility and ability to manage complexity, and it’s one of the greatest predictors of job success. For organizations in industries that are rapidly changing, cognitive requirements might be set higher. If a position is more senior, you may require higher cognitive ability to meet the demands of the role.
Here’s why this is important: If a candidate doesn’t meet your cognitive requirements for the role, they will struggle to be successful in the position.
Finding the right cultural fit
Culture plays a significant role in your organization’s productivity, profitability, and growth. World-class companies have designed the culture they need to execute their business strategy. And, according to recent research, 47 percent of people actively looking for a new position are doing so because of culture. This is why it’s important to determine if a candidate will add to your culture—or detract from it.
Measuring for culture fit shouldn’t be a quick gut check; instead, create a purposeful and explicit evaluation of a candidate’s fit to your organizational culture. This could be as simple as having interviewers score how well a candidate embodies each of your core values on a scale of 1-5. To take it a step further, you could have one interviewer focus exclusively on culture fit, asking questions to determine if a candidate truly embodies your core values.
Tailoring onboarding based on behavioral tendencies
Hiring isn’t just about finding the right candidate. It also includes onboarding and managing your new employee to be successful in their new role.
Research from the Society for Human Resources Management showed that 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
Successful onboarding goes beyond content and considers delivery. Not everyone wants to be onboarded the same way.
To figure out how to best onboard your new employee—and avoid onboarding pitfalls—look back at the behavioral traits you defined for success in the role. Then consider how you can tailor your onboarding based on their preferences. For example:
- Individuals who are more independent may want to work through onboarding at their own pace.
- More extraverted new hires may enjoy a team lunch to meet their new colleagues as part of their onboarding, whereas less extraverted hires may prefer to take their time building those relationships one-on-one.
- Those who enjoy processes and systems may want to look through manuals outlining how to do their job well.
By following these strategies for hiring and onboarding, you increase your chances of making your next hire the right hire—and retaining that person in the long-term.