Step 3 of 3 steps to hire and retain leaders who fit your culture: Prove

You’ve clarified job requirements, assessed candidate capabilities, and now it’s time to put your findings to the test.

We’ve looked at the first two steps in hiring and retaining effective leaders: clarifying job requirements and expectations, and using assessments to uncover potential best-fit candidates. The third step is to look for proof that someone can meet the job requirements in the way you expect and need.

Step 3: Prove

The best way to see if you have the right leader for a particular job in the pre-hiring phase is to test them! Based on components of the performance scorecard you developed in Step 1, give candidates a specific scenario with an assignment that will help you evaluate and measure their level of experience and fit for the organization.

Now is the time to be specific. If you want an executive candidate to, say, explain what they’ll do in their first 30, 60, or 90 days on the job, related to the areas on the performance scorecard, outline your expectations for what they come back to you with. For example:

“Articulate what you’re going to do to change this environment to accomplish these goals. Show me a plan and walk me through it.”

This is not an easy assignment, and it’s not meant to be. Too often, organizations don’t ask people they expect to lead important areas of the business to prove they can do it—to put in some hard work upfront, tied to the duties and goals outlined for the position.

How well candidates perform in that assignment—that proving ground—will give you further evidence of their competency and motivational and cultural fit for the job.

Set expectations upfront
Be aboveboard with candidates about what the process entails. Tell them they will be evaluated against the items in the performance scorecard, take an assessment, and complete an assignment (being specific that it’s a presentation, a report, or whatever is important to you). Getting their buy-in to that process upfront—or not—can save you and them time and frustration.

But wait, isn’t this costly?
Certainly, there’s a cost (time and dollars) to put multiple candidates through a hiring process that involves interviews, assessments, and assignments—but there’s also a significant cost involved in hiring the wrong leader. Every company is different, but an often-quoted stat from the Department of Labor says the cost of a bad hire can be up to 30% of the individual’s annual salary. It’s easy to see how it adds up: time spent by HR, recruiters, and managers (posting, screening, interviewing, verifying, hiring, onboarding), the cost of advertising and background checks, the lost productivity while a job is vacant, and the productivity drain all over again when a bad hire fails to perform as expected and morale suffers, too.

For organizations that have never implemented this type of process before, you’ll likely have to justify the costs. Over time, you’ll need to prove that the investment is worth it—by tracking the retention and performance of leaders you’ve hired using this process (and their team’s retention and performance).

In our experience, if you follow the three steps we’ve outlined in this series, you will see a positive return on investment by ultimately hiring leaders who are the right fit for your needs.

Step 1: Clarify – create your performance scorecard and use it to develop the questions to ask to identify candidates’ level of experience.

Step 2: Assess – choose an assessment (keep in mind there are free tools on the market) to help you better identify the type of individual that will be a fit for your organization.

Step 3: Prove – put it to the test. This underutilized step in the hiring process can give you valuable proof to make the right hiring decision.

How can we help your leaders and business excel?