Your organization will continue to grow its leaders and the people who will become the next leaders. So many organizations are capped in growth because of the caliber of the people they hire. They believe they’re getting by with cheap labor when it’s actually costing them far more than they realize — sometimes as much as three times the individual’s annual salary and any benefits. Research also tells us that less than 25 percent of hires turn out to be superior performers. So, if less than one-fourth of your hires are going to work out long-term, there must be a way to swing the odds more in your favor.

Executive and employee screening services are in high demand. Since we are early in the year and you’ll surely make a few hires into your company this year, here are some of best practices we have our clients put in place to help them gain an advantage when replacing someone or adding to their staff.


  1. Identify the stakeholders. These are individuals who have a direct interest in the position, understand the position intimately, manage or directly report to the position, or have done or currently are performing well in the position. Where in the structure does this position fit and how does it tie into the organization’s strategy? This is the all-important identification of the empty seat on the bus that is your company.


  1. Develop clarity for the position with key accountabilities. These should focus on the five or six main results for which the position is responsible. This is the big picture vision for what the person sitting in the seat on the bus is going to produce.


  1. Develop a job description. This is also a big picture exercise, but it needs as much detail as possible. When candidates and employees understand what is and what is not required of their position, companies will receive a much higher level of performance. The job description should include the desired experience level, skill set, and requisite education and training. Also, the description should list any additional education or training that needs to be executed once the person is on board.


  1. Develop the key performance indicators. These are the performance metrics for the position and should match the key accountabilities and desired goal-setting framework for this job. Everyone needs a scoreboard to measure his or her performance.


  1. Develop a data benchmark for the position. The benchmark is assembled from data we collect from the stakeholders in the position. In this data, we identify the desired communication styles, behavioral characteristics, motivational rewards, personal skills, and acumen metrics to achieve superior performance in this spot on the team.


  1. Narrow your candidates to your top three. In your interviewing process, we recommend you narrow your candidates down to three prior to assessing them. This is also a good time to review your hiring and interviewing process. We recommend at least three interviews for top candidates, as almost anyone can interview well once.


  1. Get data on all candidates to compare with the benchmark. When we have our top three for consideration, we then go to the assessment process. We have a proprietary talent algorithm we use as part of our process; there are many types of assessments out there depending on what you’re trying to measure. Once we have the assessment data, we compare it to our benchmark to see which candidate matches the desired position the best.


  1. Review the data and make your choice. After completing this process and reviewing the qualitative data from the interviews and the quantitative data from the benchmark match, it’s time to make the big call on who gets the job.


People are a company’s greatest asset. Don’t allow this aspect of business growth to become a last-minute exercise where decisions are made just to get someone in the door. Take the time to create an intentional and scientific approach to getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.


Tony Richards is an organizational and executive development expert and CEO of Clear Vision Development Group, a leadership and strategy firm in Columbia, Missouri. He is one of Inc. magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers and thinkers. His firm’s website is Follow Tony on Twitter @tonyrichards4.

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