How to Hire the Right People for Your Organization

“One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”

The time, money, and effort it takes to recruit, hire and onboard a new team member means that making a bad hire can really hit your business hard and create unnecessary stress. If the “bad hire” sticks around a while, their mistakes, inefficiencies, and/or poor attitude can start to negatively affect other team members around them. Not to mention, you have to spend more time training them and performance managing them up or out. And when replacing them becomes inevitable, the time, money, and effort starts all over again.  So how do we avoid letting a “bad apple” slip into our fold?

Candidates generally spin their resumes and applications to paint from the brightest angle and put their very best foot forward during the interview process. Hiring managers have to learn how to see through the facade and adjust the hiring process to ensure they hire the best fit for the job and the company’s culture.

Although there is no magic formula for hiring the right people, here are some things you can do to increase your odds.


Establish a Streamlined & Consistent Hiring Process

The more organized and measured your recruitment process is, from start to finish, the harder it will be for a “bad apple” to slip through the cracks. For example, here is what we recommend:

    • Post Effectively. Make sure you are leveraging the right job posting sites, targeting industry-specific boards where applicable, asking for employee or client referrals, and maintaining an ongoing list of contacts for key positions. But remember, the “free” option is not always the cheapest option if you waste valuable time only posting your position on ineffective, free job posting sites.
    • Use an application. Although each candidate’s resume and cover letter will look very different, use a different format, and contain different information, using an employment application ensures that you are collecting consistent information in a uniform format, asking the same questions, and requiring the same key details. This allows for a more impartial review of applicant credentials and suitability for the role.
    • Perform a phone screen. Having a solid process to first phone screen candidates offers many advantages. The article, 5 Benefits to Conducting a Job Candidate Phone Screen, notes these 5 benefits:
      • Saves time.
      • Saves resources.
      • Offers flexibility.
      • Requires candidates to “think on their feet.”
      • Promotes objectivity.
    • Have a well-trained interview team. Each candidate for a specific position should be interviewed by the same individual or group of interviewers. Not only should the interview team know what they can and cannot say, from a compliance standpoint, but they should also be able to ask well-thought-out questions designed to gain true insight into a person’s suitability for a specific role and be well-versed in the best way to see through rehearsed responses. They need to put the candidates at ease so that nerves don’t muddy the waters and generate false impressions. They need to read body language, tone, and facial expressions.
    • Leverage predetermined, skills-based AND behavior-based interview questions. A well-trained interview team will need well-thought-out interview questions in order to truly assess a person’s suitability for a role.
    • Check references. The best indicator of future performance is past performance.
    • Conduct background checks. Regularly performing background checks will discourage applicants who have something to hide and will help minimize risk in your hiring process.


Use a Skills Assessment

All jobs require various skills, and many of these skills can be tested prior to the selection and onboarding process. For example, if a particular position will require extensive use of Excel, an objective Excel skill assessment might be a useful tool in comparing the potential success of different applicants. Online platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning, offer many pre-made, user-friendly quizzes and courses to assess and teach hard skills that may be required for positions that you are trying to fill.

If a job will require a significant amount of writing, or if you are looking for a specific style of writing in an applicant, a writing sample could also prove useful. In order to evaluate applicants fairly, a points-based rubric can be created and each writing sample that is submitted can be graded against the same level of expectation.


Incorporate a Personality Assessment

Employers will often use personality assessments in order to quantify applicants’ core traits in a way that can be assessed with relative objectivity. There are several different assessment tools out there, and employers must be careful when using such tools in the hiring process.

Some tests, such as the Big 5, are scientifically validated and peer-reviewed as a reliable psychological model for assessing personality traits. Tests of this nature can be very effective in determining whether applicants will fit into the culture of an organization.

Another test that is fairly well-known and widely used, the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), while indicative of an individual’s feelings at the time of filling out the test materials, is less useful in hiring. A person can take the MBTI test three times and receive a different result each time. This certainly does not invalidate the assessment tool as a whole but makes it less useful for employers to learn the core personality traits of potential employees.

Overall, it is important to know what you are looking for and to make sure that a personality assessment is the right way to get that information. As a general rule of thumb, creative and team-oriented jobs could see a lot of success from the skillful use of personality assessments, both in the hiring process and simply as an evaluative tool throughout an employee’s work.


Finally, Don’t Rush Into a Hiring Decision

This is the hardest part of the process. We are often so anxious to get someone in to fill a vacancy and release the burden on other team members picking up the slack that we rush into making a hiring decision without considering all the factors. Remember, if you hire a “bad apple,” you’ll just have to start all over again. Take your time to make an informed, thoughtful, measured hiring decision.


We are expert HR advisors who provide customized employee solutions that elevate your business. If you have questions about how to hire the right employees for your organization, please contact us at info@bergerhrsolutions or (410) 695-9888. Berger HR Solutions is here to help.


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Is Your Recruitment Strategy Working for You?
How a “Buddy Program” Can Improve Your Onboarding Process
How to Create a Culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Creating a Memorable Onboarding Experience