Tip #671:  Make Better Hiring Decisions

Hiring people is like making friends. Pick good ones, and they’ll enrich your life. Make bad choices, and they’ll bring you down.”  Jason Fried

In the past, hiring decisions were primarily based on a review of the candidates’ resumes and their references. Unfortunately, neither of those sources are completely reliable. Professional resume writers abound who can transform poor qualifications and/or experience into new and misleading statements.

With regard to references, many companies limit a reference response to simple confirmation of the candidate’s employment. In addition, unless the hiring manager knows and trusts the reference, it is possible that the current manager may speak highly of an employee that s/he wants to leave the company.

Even if the resume and/or reference accurately confirm the candidate’s qualifications to perform the job, there are still two other criteria that must be considered in order to ensure the candidate is the best fit for the job.

  1. They are qualified for the job, based on past training and experience.
  2. They will perform the job in a manner acceptable to the organization.
  3. They share the organization’s values.

There are two screening methods that can help you determine if all three criteria are met: an Achievement History Questionnaire and Situational Interview Questions.

Achievement History Questionnaire:

To determine if the candidates are qualified for the job and share the organization’s values, based on past training and experience, use an Achievement History Questionnaire (AHQ).

There are many different formats for resumes, and it can take a manager a long time to read through the resume to find information relevant to the position. In many cases, information about the applicant’s qualifications may not be clearly stated.

An AHQ is a structured method to obtain applicants’ past job-related training and experience in a consistent format that can be easily screened and rated.

It uses targeted open-ended questions about the key responsibilities of

the job to quantify and qualify an applicant’s past job-related training and experience as well as determine whether the applicant will fit into the organizational culture.

It is an excellent preliminary screening device for higher level professional, supervisory or managerial positions, particularly if they require specialized training and experience.

Applicants have to be qualified to respond to the questions or otherwise they screen themselves out. As a result, 25% of the usual number of applicants will respond to an AHQ. However, most if not all of the respondents will be highly qualified to move to the next level of screening.

How it is rated:   Pre-determined benchmark answers provide a basis for rating and ranking the applicants’ answers. These benchmark answers identify buzzwords that will clue the rater if the applicant has the necessary training and/or work experience, as well as the knowledge, skills and abilities, to satisfactorily perform the job.

Situational Interview Questions:

To determine if the candidates will perform the job in a manner acceptable to your organization and share the organization’s values, use Situational Interview Questions.

During a hiring interview, managers may ask questions that are too general or not completely related to the job. In these cases, what the manager considers an acceptable answer can be swayed by his or her subjective response to the candidate. A candidate who answers the first question poorly but gives great answers to the second question may benefit from a halo effect so that after the interview, the manager may only remember the good answers.

Situational Interview Questions are open-ended job-related or value-related questions intended to determine how a candidate would perform on the job and whether the candidate shares the organization’s values.

They ask the candidates to describe how they handled or would handle typical or challenging situations that arise during the performance of the key responsibilities of the job.

How they are rated:   Pre-determined benchmark answers provide a basis for rating candidates’ responses as acceptable or unacceptable.

Examples of an AHQ with rating guide and both job-related and shared-value Situational Interview questions with rating guides can be found at <https://laurelandassociates.com/whitepapersarticles/>

May your learning be sweet.


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