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Tips and Tricks to Hire Smart

AJ Cheponis
AJ Cheponis

There are costs to hiring the wrong person.

Everyone wants to take control and do it themselves.

I've waived that flag for most of my life, but this is one area that’s so critical to a business's success and one that requires such specialized focus, consider outsourcing to an unbiased expert.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted over the years that emphasize the cost of a wrong or bad hire. Few studies consider the opportunity loss and the cost of damaged relationships, both internal as well as external. A bad hire can severely damage your culture or a potential relationship with a future customer.

In today's search for talent, we can't afford to make the wrong hire, or simply to hope the hire we make is a good fit.

Jim Collins spoke about the difference between good companies and great companies years ago, and one of the most significant findings that separated these companies was the ability to get the right people in the right seats on their "bus."

The question that drives most business owners mad is how do I find the right people? Your HR staff isn’t going to get the job done, nor are your hiring manager or recruiter. You need a specialist who focuses on talent optimization.

What is talent optimization, and why does it matter?

Talent optimization is a multipart discipline that helps companies align their business strategy with their people strategy. The first aptitude of talent optimization concentrates on diagnosing people problems. This is done by collecting and analyzing people data and reporting on it to help business leaders make objective decisions about their people strategy.

Measure what matters

Most businesses regularly monitor key business results, such as revenue, customer retention rates, or profits and losses.

Why wouldn’t we do the same with key people metrics? By rigorously measuring people data, you can uncover the people problems that are negatively impacting your client’s business results and proactively take action to improve outcomes.

What people data to measure?

Behavioral profiles: Behavioral assessments identify natural drives and preferences; this tool shouldn't be confused with personality profiles. The two are completely different. It helps us identify people who are naturally suited for the job and manage them accordingly.

Cognitive ability assessment: Cognitive assessments gauge a candidate’s learning agility. How quickly can they learn new things and adapt to change? This allows employers to identify candidates whose cognitive ability is suited to the job and the company. 

Employee engagement: This is data collected directly from your employees; this data describes how they feel about working for the company. Engagement data can help identify any misalignment between employees and their job, their managers, their colleagues, and your client’s organization.

Job performance: This data identifies how well employees are moving business initiatives forward and pinpoints those who are struggling to succeed. 

Organizational and team culture: Culture can be created intentionally or by accident. This data identifies the values and culture of your client's organization and can help in determining if the culture in place is appropriate to reach business goals.

Employee sentiment: This data includes the experiences of employees at work. It's often collected through a performance feedback method or during exit interviews.

It's easy to get overwhelmed with that short list and freeze. Don’t stress out over what you have and don’t have; an expert will begin with whatever data you happen to have available. If you lack data, don't worry, you can start collecting meaningful data now. 

What tools to use?

There is a wide assortment of tools that collect and measure people data, spanning from lightweight and inexpensive tools, such as performance evaluations or exit interviews, to more comprehensive and expensive tools, such as a talent optimization software or assessment providers.

Based on what we decide to measure, we determine the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to collect that data.

Analyze the evidence

It's been said that, In business, nearly every problem is a people problem.

Analyzing people data allows us to objectively uncover issues that aren't obvious, once armed with this data, we can support you as you take quick and effective action.

Once we've determined the people problems at play and brainstormed ways to address them with you, it's time to prioritize. Change happens slowly, and it happens best when you focus on changing one thing at a time. We will collectively consider the following four factors when deciding where to allocate our time, attention and resources.

Examine the magnitude. What’s the level of impact on the organization and business results?

Determine relevance. Is this problem really important? Was this problem flagged by low performers or your high performers?

Consider the extent. Is the problem isolated or widespread? Problems that seen throughout your organization take precedence over more isolated issues.

Look for repetition. Is the problem recurring? Is there a pattern to the problem?

Improvement actions

When we consult with clients, our focus is to help companies strategize and implement change that will bring about better business outcomes. We support companies in measuring and analyzing their people data. We understand the importance of this step. 

We then prescribe improvement actions where we collectively plan the actions you need to take to correct the issues that we discovered upon measuring and analyzing the talent metrics.

Three action steps

We determine the best course of action. There may be several paths you could take to achieve your goal. We review all the options and choose the most feasible tactic.

We then determine what steps we can take immediately to set that path in motion.

Decide how to take action. We make a rollout plan based on the decided upon action items and decide who should work on what. We determine what items can fit into your existing processes. Moreover, if we need to create new processes, don't worry, we can do that too.

We understand that change is scary, and we are accustomed to resistance. We communicate the "why" as early as possible and never stop. Change is hard, and people have emotions, that’s why our approach to transparency is critical.

Image Credit: Fizkeys/Shutterstock
AJ Cheponis
AJ Cheponis Member
AJ now dedicates his career to serving the pallet management needs of Fortune 1,000 companies, both at regional and national levels. Currently, he focuses on eliminating supply chain inefficiencies, building successful relationships, and uncovering hidden cost savings for manufacturers and distribution centers. When not working closely with the entire solutions team, AJ enjoys spending time with family and friends, skiing, mountain biking and hiking in the Rockies.