The Most Important Question in Hiring Anyone

Most of the time we spend time talking about how to select good employees from the crowd of resumes. I wrote last time about Job Descriptions and that is along that line. Further posts in this series will help you to understand how to interview, select and onboard employees. But that is in the future. Today, I want to talk about the question that you should be asking at the very start of this process.

How will you know if this new employee is successful?

Many people don’t think about this before they hire someone. They tend to hire and retain employees based on their feelings about them. I am asking the basic question about employee performance. If you cannot define how the employee fits into your business and contributes to the business. This can be difficult for Owners and Executives. There needs to be some objective measure of employee performance.

Let me provide an example. I was working with a client in one of the Construction Trades. They were working to hire an Operations Manager that would work in the field on existing jobs. That would free the Owners up to do more business development and administer the business. When I posed my question to them, the Owner said that he was not sure. So, I probed around the job and the desired outcome. For this position, there were 2 objective measurements that came out clearly. These measurements were project completion to budget and to schedule. When I pointed this out, it became obvious to the Owner. Even then I asked for clarification. Is it required that projects complete on time or is 1 – 2 days of slippage okay? My goal here was to make sure that the Owner had thought through this.

In this case, this will allow the Owner to give the new Operations Manager a clear way to understand their own performance. One can argue that the financial impact of this position is indirect. But if you are late and over budget on projects, you won’t have profits or a good reputation. Employee performance makes all the difference.

So, before you even write the Job Description think about how you will measure the new hire’s performance. By doing that, you will be able to write a better Job Description. This work can help you onboard and manage the employee better once they have started.

Have a great day!

Jim Sackman
Focal Point Business Coaching
Business Coaching, Leadership Training, Sales Training, Strategic Planning

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