Management Matters: Improve the Odds of Hiring Well

Your organization needs to hire talent. Don’t just assume that your managers know how to hire. That the kind of thinking that can create vulnerability and risk. Ask yourself – Have you been 100% thrilled with every hire you’ve made?  If not, than you know how valuable good interviewing and selection skills are. These critical skills, which have long term ramifications, legal, financial, morale consequences, and strategic implications can be overlooked when looking at an employee’s development.

Practice makes perfect so aim for perfection
Everyone wants instant competence and while most people hate to practice, they love to perform. You can tell the difference between someone who has practiced and someone who has not (excluding those with God-given natural talent), and practice always tips the scales in their favor.

Even though your employees may groan when asked to learn, re-learn, update and practice their interviewing skills, studies show that well-trained interviewers reduce turnover and legal exposure and increase the ability to attract, employ and retain good employees as well as increase productivity. The opportunity to practice the art of selection interviewing allows managers to create a strategic approach to the hiring process. A key part of the process is the improvement in the confidence to select the most qualified applicants by: developing their awareness of the internal mechanisms that facilitate the employment procedure; understanding the laws and regulations that effect the interview process; and obtaining their buy-in to the value of basic interviewing skills that create a strong foundation from both an organizational perspective and a personal one.

“Do as I say” …. But remember that they see what you DO
There is strong evidence that in order to optimize a maximum return of trained employees, there needs to be a commitment at the senior level of the organization to demonstrate and expect these practices to be followed by the rest of the organization. That means is not only demonstrating the ability to increase the percentage of good hires and decrease turnover, but modeling the willingness to practice, update their skills and attend training programs. EVERYONE can learn how to be better.

The things all interviewers NEED to practice include:

  • Review and possible revision of the job description and requirements
  • Compare position needs with evidence of skills
  • Obtain samples of the candidates work
  • Check references thoroughly
  • Confirm resume claims and dates
  • Create interview questions that illuminate areas of strength and probe areas of weakness
  • Ask legal and job-related questions
  • Attention to the public relations aspect of an interview

The old way is not good enough today
Traditional trial and error for selecting staff is no longer effective (not that it ever really was!). Rather than viewing employee selection as a monumental task, the integration of effective hiring strategies into everyday duties is the best route for organizations that want to excel in the future

Every one of your employees who has the responsibility of interviewing candidates should participate in training programs that prepares them for a strategic hiring focus.

Interviewing refreshers should be held annually.

Managers should –

  • Always be on the lookout for talent and enthusiasm
  • Have a clear knowledge of the positions that are under their authority, and
  • Work to create the image that will attract and retain applicants.

Superior interviewing skills sharpen the ability to identify, hire and promote the best – no matter what the field. If you suspect that there is room for improvement in interviewing and hiring skills in your organization, or that the employees who have the responsibility for interviewing are not getting the practice or the feedback they need, pay close attention to the training and preparation they receive. Your goal should be to support them in making better judgments about whom to hire and promote, obtain information about the job and the candidate that are critical to making good hiring decisions, and get educated on employment laws and recent changes in the law.

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at