Ensuring the Right Match

Good hiring managers are able to quickly make an accurate assessment of candidates during the interview process.  

One of the greatest challenges we hear from hiring managers is “How can I be sure I’m hiring the right person for the job?”.  The desire to make the right decision, as well as trepidation about making a bad hire, can lead to a prolonged hiring process (multiple weigh-ins, aptitude tests, role plays, etc.).  These delays often mean losing a top contender for the job.

One of the reasons for delay is that the essential criteria for the role were not clearly defined. More than just a checklist of successful sales attributes and the number of years of experience required, these criteria should come from having clearly identified the SMART goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the position.  Once defined, the interview questions should focus on whether the candidate has the essential skills necessary to accomplish those goals and KPIs.  A clear understanding leads to specific interview questions that elicit more useful information and meaningful evidence of the candidate’s qualifications.


For example, if the SMART goals for a sales job are making 50 cold calls a day or sending 50 prospecting letters a week to secure 10 face to face meetings a week, you have a much better sense of what the salesperson must be doing (and doing well!) in the current or past job as an indicator of the ability to meet and exceed expectations in the new role. If SMART goals include preparing 3 sales presentations a month which require input and sign off from internal stakeholders, you know that you’re looking for someone who has shown the ability to collaborate in a similar way. The perfect candidate will have hit these smaller goals on the way to achieving larger goals.

Goal setting should also be in sync with the compensation structure. KPIs that are used for performance reviews and compensation increases should be in lockstep with the goals for that position. 

The benefits of this approach resonate throughout the interview and hiring process, guiding both internal and external recruiters, shaping interview questions and leading to a more accurate assessment of candidates and a quicker and easier hiring process. It also ensures that the candidate and the hiring organization/manager are on the same page about job expectations, which contributes to a higher on-the-job success rate and lower turnover. A powerful hiring tip!