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Does hiring feel like a high-stakes gamble?


How hard can it be?

Write a job description or just find the old one.  Make sure to put “Other duties as required” at the end… just in case.

Advertise on Indeed.com or craigslist.

Sort through the resumes.

Interview. Check references.

Pick the person you connect with the best.   Won’t it be nice to have someone who thinks like you?

This is how people have hired employees for years.  It is also how people hire the wrong person over and over again.

If you have been around and around this merry-go-round, it can begin to feel like high-stakes gambling – as if it were just pure luck to get the right person who will stay, be successful, and truly commit to your organization.

Maybe you are beginning to figure out, there’s more to this than luck. 

There are solid practices to recruit employees and to retain them that will greatly increase your chances for success in hiring.

In our last blog post, we focused on how critical it is to write the right kind of job description.  Today, we’ll look at a power tool to help you find the right person for the job.  First, though I might not need to say this, as CEO, don’t be the one screening initial resumes!  Let the first run be done by someone else (almost anyone else!).

Following steps in the last post, you now have an excellent job description with both results needed from the position as well as the qualities, skills and education of the person ideally suited for the job.  You have laid an excellent foundation.  Someone else is screening the resumes and checking the references for the top four candidates, and potentially doing the initial interview by phone.  The next recommended step is to have the top two or three candidates take the Kolbe Index.

The Kolbe Index measures how a person naturally strives, that is, how they apply themselves when they are really trying.  This is called the ‘conative’ aspect of the mind.

In evaluating job applicants, conation is separate and distinct from analytical abilities, experience and education and personal qualities, all of which are also important indicators for job success.

Each of us has a unique way of striving – qualities we instinctively employ when we are really trying to get a job done.

Even more, each job has a particular set of requirements that will ideally fit someone based on how they strive when they do their work.

For example, you may have a job that requires a lot of research before specific decisions need to be made.

Or you may have a position requiring a specific process to be carefully followed in order to get the best result.

Yet, another job may require that the applicant be comfortable in highly unstructured situations where they  need to rely on their own instincts and initiative to get the work done.

Each of these positions requires a different set of skills and orientation toward work and a specific way of striving to be successful.

The Kolbe index can measure what is required within the job and the conative qualities of each individual applicant.  It can help you find the ideal candidate match.  If a candidate is not an exact match, it can help you understand where the applicant may be uncomfortable in the job and where there may be stress.  You can potentially then take steps to mitigate this, instead of wondering what the heck is going on with them.

Of course, while you must also see evidence of the candidate’s experience, education and personality fit for your company, conative measurements are equally important in assessing likelihood of job success.

Most employers only look for education, experience and fit.  Then they hire people who are not a good conative match for the job.  This can create significant stress for both the new employee and for the company, as it is hard to achieve the results required in the job.

Want to learn more to create a bullet-proof system for hiring ideal candidates?  Click here and let’s find a time to talk.


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