Pro Hiring Tips: Improve Your Pre-Hire Setup

Hiring the right-fit person for any role is difficult and many organizations make it even more difficult by not treating hiring as a systematic business process. See if this resonates:

Exec; We have an opening in Duluth, can you put together a job ad and post it?

Asst.: “Sure.” “Now where did I file that job description? It’s only a couple of years old. I should be able to cut and paste and have this posted within the hour! 

Exec: Oh, and get with HR to do a first pass of the resumes and schedule first round interviews with the ones you think fit. Then send me who you like.

Asst.: Will do.

While maybe a little exaggerated, versions of this scenario occur more often that you think in companies large and small every week. It’s almost as if hiring is a necessary evil that gets in the way of more productive stuff. A warm body in a role does nothing for you or your company, and, can you really afford the turnover? 

Let’s unpack this scenario.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done BEFORE you begin looking for candidates. Here are three things you can do to immediately improve your pre-hiring setup.

  1. Define the problem/result needed. In sales, there are only two reasons a customer buys: there’s a problem they have and don’t want, OR there’s a result they want and don’t have. “We have an opening in Duluth.” Define the problem you have and/or the result you want first. “Sales are down in the upper Midwest region and we have a gaping hole. We need to get sales back on track to meet our goals.”
  1. Develop and Create Key Accountabilities. Ditch the traditional job descriptions. They have limited, if any, value and frankly they’re boring and all read the same. They’re chock full of bullet points that focus on GETTING THE JOB vs DOING THE JOB. Must have, must have, must have; sounds exciting doesn’t it! Your future employees want to know what they can do, become, and where they can take their career. I ask clients the following; “if you found a solid candidate in the next two weeks, and we didn’t speak for a year, what would the candidate have to DO in the next 12 months for the company to consider this candidate an outstanding hire?”Define the specific outcomes you want and by when: “Sell $2.0M of software and services to healthcare institutions in a 3 state region by 12/31/2022.”
  1. Communicate then delegate. Don’t assume that others know what you specifically want. “Oh, and get with HR to do a first pass…then send me who you like.” If those helping you, including outside recruitment firms, don’t understand the problem/result you’ve identified and what you want, you’ll be disappointed in the results you receive. Post and pray is an ineffective hiring strategy; It’ll produce mounds of unqualified resumes and waste a vast amount of time. 

This is part of the process we take our clients through with our patented Job Benchmarking System (powered by TTISI). In collaboration, we define the problem they have and don’t want, or identify the result they want and don’t have. Once we create the Job Benchmark, comparing candidates to what the job and client needs is much simpler. 

Hiring is difficult! Finding the right-fit candidate that can deliver the results you need is paramount.

Jim O’Hara is a veteran executive and former agency firm owner. He is now President of Kellen James – Performance Advisors, an Advisory, Diagnostics and Talent Consultancy that helps organizations hire more accurately, lead more effectively and get results more efficiently. To learn more about the patented Job Benchmarking Process connect with Jim on LinkedIn or

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