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Management Insights
How To Hire Top Performers
By Dan Goldberg

So, how do you hire the right person, place them where they fit and evaluate them so your enterprise can prosper? It all starts at the benchmark.

They're the dilemmas of every business. How do you find the people to keep your enterprise moving ahead smoothly? Or, how do you get the right folks to take you to the next level? And even, where do you get the individuals you need to get you out of the situation you're in?

It's universal and on going in the business world we live in.

In working with companies that have or have had these problems I've noticed a consistent phenomenon, not in every case, but certainly in most. There seems to be a lack of self-awareness as to how their current situation was formed. Too often the owners or managers of the companies feel that those individuals who got the entity to where it is can move it ahead, take it to the next level or get it out of the situation it's in. These assumptions can be dangerous if not disastrous.

So, how do you hire the right person, place them where they fit and evaluate them so your enterprise can prosper? It all starts at the benchmark.

First define the position. Develop a formal description in terms of experience, education, technical skills, etc. needed to perform the benchmarked job. Determine what behavioral skills are needed to execute the duties, responsibilities and expectations of the position. Build an understanding as to what the motivational factors are in order to achieve the needed successful results. And evaluate the current high and low performers to enable you to get further insights into the soft skills needed in your particular environment or culture.

In developing the benchmark it's important to understand why the position is or will be open. Was the person previously hired for the position not the right person for the job? Then ask yourself why. Did you already have a high performer in that particular position who decided to leave the company for another opportunity? Be honest with yourself when you figure out the reason for that switch. Did you have a wonderful person in the job that you decided to promote? And/or is your company growing? Each answer will add to your benchmarking knowledge base.

With a more defined view of the position the recruiter, whether it's you, your HR department, an outside person or a combination of two or three, will be able to identify the most suitable candidates for the position. It also becomes easier to efficiently screen resumes that have the technical skills, experience and education for the position.

Once you have the pool of candidates down to three or four individuals pre-employment behavioral and attitudinal assessments become the tools to help evaluate which person has the soft skills necessary to function within the benchmarks that have been established for the position.

When qualified candidates have been found, the HR department, or persons working in that capacity, will often send the person to the interviewing team. Included on that team should be a behavioral interviewer who can customize their questions to the particular candidate based on the behavioral design and tendencies of the individual so that the entire team can have a more complete picture of the potential hire in order to make a more unbiased hiring decision.

With that stage of the process complete the interviewing team can discuss the results with the Human Resources representative, department manager and/or other pertinent personnel affected by the hire.

This final selection discussion will give the manager, supervisor or other people involved new insights as to how to motivate, communicate with and manage the new employee.

Now that the position is filled the employee-manager working relationship can move into formulating a career path for the individual. Training/mentoring/coaching programs can be established that pertain to the needs of the employee as well as the organization.

It is also now up to the organization to formulate a means to monitor the development of the employee through measurable means. This process is necessary in order to ensure performance results.

With a consistent program in place updating the employee on their progress through a series of monthly or quarterly meetings is sure to help everyone reach their objectives.

Understanding that the people who got you where you are now may not be the folks to get you to where you want to be is a sometimes sobering and uncomfortable position for any business owner, executive or manager to be in. It is not unusual to find out that the individuals that you agonize over are agonizing over the position they're in too. Not from the perspective of "Am I going to lose my job?" but rather, "Gee I wish I could be doing another function within this organization."

Too often we don't stop to think about how to use the human resources within our companies in new and creative ways. That may mean finding out what really best suits their strong points.

Reassigning individuals and tasks may wind up taking pressure off everyone. The process outlined in this article helps in directing new hires into their strengths and can also be used in a modified fashion to help old hires find their strengths as well. After all that is why it's call Human Resources.

Dan Goldberg is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, coach, business developer and management consultant. Reach Dan by phone: 215-233-5352 ; email : ; or visit :

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