7 steps to become a Hiring Champion

In my experience more than 50% of your potential HR problems start with hiring the wrong people into your team. And so if you can become a Hiring Champion your HR issues will magically reduce.

When it comes to hiring, again this is from personal experience, more hiring mistakes are made in the first 3 minutes of a job interview than at any other time.

Wow, what mistakes can you make in 3 minutes; its simple we make snap decisions on people, when interviewers meet candidates they like, they maximize the positives and ignore the negatives. When they meet someone they don’t like, they reverse the process, seeking out negative information. Here’s how you can become a Champion…

1. Suspend judgment. Hear all of the evidence, pro and con, before making any decision. In the case of interviewing, wait for at least 30 minutes after the interview starts before concluding whether the person is a possible hire. Don’t make that snap decision- yes or no.


2. Don’t be a Judge… join the Jury. Listen to all of the evidence before reaching a yes or no decision. Once you reach this decision, use any remaining interview time to seek out evidence to prove your decision correct. To reach a even more objective decision, seek out evidence to disprove your decision- seek positives about the candidates you dislike and negatives about the candidates you prefer.

3. Be Systematic. Create a Hiring scorecard noting down the skills aptitudes and attitudes you wish from the candidate.And then identify people within your business who can help you assess whether candidates have the requisite capabilities. Don’t ask everyone to look for everything, just ask them to focus on their area of strengths to see if the candidates share them.From the hiring scorecard assign each interviewer a sub-set of the factors predicting success. During a formal debriefing session each interviewer is then required to substantiate his/her ranking on just these factors with evidence. This way the whole team makes a systematic assessment, and it also neutralizing the impact of biased assessments of the candidate as a whole by focusing people on individual areas of importance.

4. Be more cynical with people you like. I found this the hardest skill to learn. If a person was like me, I immediately liked them- high D, high I in DISC language. If they were high C, I tended not to like them. When you like a candidate you naturally go into sales mode, ask easy questions, and ignore or minimize any potential negatives. To overcome this natural tendency, use a process to force yourself to ask tougher questions, digging deep into the person’s accomplishments that most directly relate to your job opening. And so I learnt to question those most like me more objectively.

5. Treat people you don’t like as independent consultants. This is how I learned to love high C candidates, for jobs that required their special skills. Sometimes candidates are nervous, sometimes they’re different from you in appearance or personality, and sometimes they talk with accents you don’t like. And sometimes, these are great people. To find the truth, assume they’re great, and treat them as expert consultants not as job candidates- try to separate your personality (and theirs) from the job, think of them as outside of the team, to assess their ability to perform the role. After 30 minutes you might discover they are.

6. Ignore fact-less opinions. During the debriefing session, ignore assessments that include these terms: feel, think, like, dislike, bad fit, too soft, too aggressive, anything about personality good or bad, or the term “soft skills.” These are all clues that the candidate was interviewed through a biased filter by the interviewer- ask for facts or an objective reason behind their views.

7. Don’t conduct short interviews; consider using group interviews instead. If you want to make the wrong hiring decision, have five to six people each spend 30 minutes with the candidate, then add up their yes/no votes. Well-organized group interviews (60-90 minutes) with two to three people interviewing the candidate takes less time in total, and forces objectivity. Plus you get to observe the candidate in dealing with other people.

By forcing an objective fact-based process into the hiring decision, and demanding that interviewers justify their assessments with evidence, you’ll avoid the tendency to hire 90-day wonders. These are the people who 90 days later you wonder why they were hired. I’ve used this process for almost a decade and its enabled me to continue to hire good candidates for a variety of roles. Try it you’ll see.

Have you any good ideas to assist people in hiring, then please share them in our comments section.