Smart Hiring: 7 Best Practices for Selecting Top Talent

Business Edge-smart growth strategies-marcia

Many managers make poor staffing decisions. By all accounts their batting average is no better than .333. At most, one-third of such decisions turn out right; one-third minimally effective; and one-third outright failures. In no other area of management would we put up with such miserable performance.”

– Peter Drucker, management icon.

I RECENTLY GAVE a presentation to a group of business and community leaders on how to select the right talent to grow their organizations. Given the expense associated with recruiting top performers and the high cost of making poor choices, you would think that those responsible for hiring would follow a systematic process that results in high quality hiring.

Yet, I am continually amazed when reviewing staffing practices with small business owners as well as managers in growing companies, how frequently I find the lack of workforce planning, inconsistent procedures, ineffective interviewing, indecision or a quick decision based on gut feel rather than good data and other poor management processes.

Best Practices for Selecting Top Talent.

  1. Prepare! Don’t shoot from the hip.
    When managers are so busy dealing with multiple issues every day, they may not have the time to do the front-end homework that is required. Find the time because bad hiring decisions can be costly in terms of your time and your money.
  2. Develop a role expectation or job description.
    It’s important to have everyone on the same page about what is required – the key success factors. If one person thinks a certain personality type is needed while another thinks differently, then there will be problems deciding whom is the best applicant.
  3. Identify and prep the interview team.
    Make sure you have the right people to evaluate applicants’ qualifications and also they’ve been trained on interviewing techniques. Not all supervisors are great interviewers. Think back to a time when you were interviewing for a position. Like many of us, you probably have some horror stories.
  4. Focus on the right stuff

Develop the key questions that will be asked of every candidate. This will allow you to compare Person A vs Person B based on their answers not just your gut feel. This may save you discrimination headaches.

  1. Strategize the interview for consistency and effectiveness

Decide on where the interview will take place how long it will be; who will ask the candidates what questions. It’s usually best to divide the questions based on interviewer’s area of expertise. For example, let finance people ask the finance questions.

  1. Ask open-ended questions based on the position requirements.
    It’s usually not very helpful to ask candidates “Can you do x?” Most likely they’ll say yes because they think they can. Remember, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Instead, ask behavioral questions like, “Tell me about a time when….”or “Give me an example of….”
  2. Take notes and keep score with the right goals in mind.
    Develop a rating system to analyze and compare each applicant. Decide on the criteria you will use to rate each applicant. It could be a simple scale from one to five on each of the key success factors. Rate each person immediately after the interview. If you don’t I guarantee that you will either forget what the first interviewee said or mix his/her responses with subsequent interviewees if you don’t take notes

Management Success Tip:

The purpose of any hiring process is to discriminate (albeit fairly) among applicants. You must be able to differentiate those who will perform well from those who will not. Your goal is to select the right people, with the right skills, for the right jobs and at the right time. You can probably teach a turkey to climb a tree—but isn’t it is easier to hire a squirrel to begin with?

Have you ever made a hiring mistake — selecting the wrong person for the position? If so, let me know about it. What were your lessons learned?

My Motto Is:
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: “Business Edge – Smart Growth Strategies” with a insights, inspiration and intelligence on how to build great businesses that matter – those that do well and do good.

What’s Your Success Score?
Are you starting a business; growing a business; selling a business or re-charging a business? Do you have the right stuff to build a highly organized, innovative, productive, and profitable enterprise? How well does your business stack up with other companies? The ManageHub Success Score will tell you!


Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE