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Are you hiring a skill set, or a person?

Hiring People And Their Expertise: Are you hiring a skill set, or a person?

Strong leadership teams create a strategy to address both BEFORE making hiring decisions.

Hiring the right people requires a well-thought out process. By the right people, I mean the kind of people who will drive the company toward its goals and whose personality, style, and professionalism will positively contribute to creativity, communication and the general culture of the organization.

Establish a Hiring Rubric

I recently facilitated an executive retreat for a young, fast-growing company, where the subject of new hires came up. The team had spent a great deal of time—and had done a good job—defining the specific skill sets they needed to hire. The problem was they had spent no time thinking about the kind of people they would like to hire.

I led them through a process of creating a rubric of core traits that they would like all of their employees to possess. Here’s how to approach hiring in a manner that optimizes the process.

How to Create Your Hiring Rubric

  1. Have a discussion around core traits. This requires knowing your story, putting your vision first, and general agreement upon those core traits and values. An objective facilitator can help make this process more efficient.
  2. Once those core traits are established, they can be mapped into key categories. I suggest the following:
    1. Must Haves: Yes / No. Traits in this category are the most important of all of your traits. A candidate either has them, or they don’t. These are non-negotiable; if they don’t have them, they don’t get hired. Most companies would do well to have fewer items in this category.
    2. Nice to Haves: Strong / Weak / Neutral. This category can include the next set of most important traits. A candidate does not need to be strong in every single trait in this category; I suggest that a good fit should have a “strong” rating in at least 3 of the traits listed in the category.
    3. Awareness: Yes / No / Maybe. This is a category that captures an ideal, such as management potential, that your company is striving to meet. Traits here are not required, but they can keep you cognizant of your over-arching vision and plan for the organization you are striving to build.
  3. Develop effective questions and answer interpretations for each trait. Remember that leaders must help establish how to interview for and uncover these traits.

Sample hiring rubric (#2 in the above list):

Sample Hiring Rubric

Example of effective question and answer interpretations (#3 in the above list):

Interview Guide

You can hire the skillset, but never forget that what you’ll be managing is the person

Leadership must own the context by which new hires are made. A hiring rubric can formalize that context while allowing leadership and other hiring managers to determine the ratings amongst themselves. A smartly developed hiring rubric can empower better, smarter hiring decisions across the organization. A solid hiring rubric helps address the following Principles for Profit:

  •  Culture requires a common dialogue with common definitions
  •  Good questions yield good answers
  •  Management is not a natural talent

“Several months into the process of using this rubric, our company has found better candidates and improved our questioning, which has allowed us to make smarter hiring decisions. We’ve also  received strong positive feedback from all of our candidates, even those we passed on.” — Matt Doherty, President, Academic Benchmarks (now Certica Solutions)

Contact us if your leadership team could benefit from an objective facilitator while you develop your core traits, or for other types of leadership development, organizational development, or strategic planning.

You can find more Principles for Profit posted by following the Caruso Leadership page on Linked In.

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