The Importance of Consciously Hiring

January 15th, 2014

Most organizations unconsciously hire. Setting specific goals for the quality of hiring isn’t given any attention, and without goals for hiring high-quality talent, management teams are left with a typical – although not optimal alternative- to hire qualified talent, possessing appropriate skills, that can do the job. In other words, they interview and hire candidates experienced with necessary skills to do the job that sell themselves in an above average manner.

An unconscious hire is gauged by skills. The job description is the main tool. It lays out what skills and years of experience the person has to have to do the job. So if the job description says that a candidate needs “4 years of this skill” and “7 years of that experience”; these become the focus of screening and interviewing content.

This also indicates a lack of conscious planning within the talent acquisition strategy (if a talent acquisition strategy exists). The job description is a document that addresses the micro part of the role and answers the question: What skills does an employee use when they perform this role? It does not discuss (in much detail):

  • The scope of responsibilities
  • Problems to be solved and goals to be accomplished
  • What success looks like, near and long term
  • The defined hurdles and challenges
  • Attributes and competencies necessary to perform at a superior level and exceed the status quo.

What the candidate “has to have” gets much of the attention – skills that mirror the role and the number of years, type of experience necessary to do the job,etc.

Making a high-quality hire requires giving conscious thought to what a high-caliber or high performing individual looks like. Ask and identify what a successful track record would include, the experiential options that line up for the role, competencies necessary, and the definition of a successful candidate. These are the musts for an effective position profile.

Be proactive; detail the responsibilities of the role – figure out what needs to get done over the next 12-18 months. In addition, picture the environment in 12-18 months given successful performance by the candidate in this role.

Hiring high-quality talent depends on determining the caliber of individual candidates. To select the highest-caliber person – and the best fit for the position – determine what success looks like and the competency required to be successful, beyond years of experience. Spend time identifying the candidate’s past performance profile, their individual caliber and not what skills they possess. Trust that a motivated, high-caliber candidate will learn what skills they need to know to excel in the position, especially if they have done that in the past.

Give thought to how the level of experience for the role is established. Does it happen by going through the role and determining the position’s degree of difficulty? What are the responsibilities and events that must get accomplished? What type of experience, track record, and competencies would a candidate need to excel? Put an accurate (and conscious) position profile together spelling it out. Completed successfully, hiring can be more conscious, proactive and beneficial to all concerned.

At Honer and Associates, we understand how to consciously hire, and we can assist you in finding the high-caliber people for your key positions. So contact us today!