Are You Using the Right Hiring Criteria?

BY Kathy Crosett
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When you’re ready to make your next hire, ask yourself a few questions. Are you looking for a person who will come up to speed quickly or are you looking for a person who will succeed in the long term? When it comes to some candidates and some jobs, using the right hiring criteria makes a difference.

The Previous Experience Conundrum

Florida State University Chad H. Van Iddekinge has been studying the topic of employers who require specific job experience when hiring candidates. Many organizations get into this mindset. They don’t want to spend time hiring a person who is just out of school and needs plenty of training. Instead, they look at employees who’ve done well in the company so far. If those employees came in with two years of experience, that’s what a hiring manager will ask for when the job opening gets posted. 

This strategy can lead to a high failure rate. Van Iddekinge says. "We discovered a very weak relationship between pre-​hire experience and performance, both in training and on the job. We also found zero correlation between work experience with earlier employers and retention.” The research found that candidates with previous experience can come up to speed quickly in most work environments. But, in the long run, these employees are no more likely to become star performers or stay with the organization than others.

The Importance of Training and Certification

One reason for the high failure rate is linked to what employers are asking during interviews. Instead of asking candidates about job experience, interviewers should dig for more information. You should ask exactly how many hours of experience they have carrying out a specific task that is critical for the position. 

You should also check into what successful employees have possessed besides experience when hiring for a specific position. Have they taken a specific sales training course? Did they come into your organization with a certification? Screening applicants who have these credentials could improve your hiring outcomes.

Van Iddekinge points out that, “One of the basic premises in our area of research is that past behavior predicts future behavior. But pre-​hire experience isn’t a measure of behavior.” Instead of relying on pre-​hire experience, ask your sales candidates to take an assessment that measures aptitude and knowledge. When you use an assessment, you remove bias from the interview process and you're more likely to hire an individual who will do well at your company. You can find this kind of assessment at TeamTrait™