The Secret to Hiring the Best Employees


Successful business leaders understand that their employees are their most valuable asset.  Employees are an investment in the overall success of the company.  Employees, as representatives of their company, need to operate with a standard of excellence at every level.  While rising unemployment may increase the pool of potential candidates, it does not guarantee that finding good candidates will be easy.  Many qualified candidates who are currently unemployed may become cautious about looking for new positions.  In a recent survey, 96% of employees believe that they cannot attain their career goals in their current positions, but 37% were unwilling to look elsewhere at this time.  At the managerial level, 53% report they are unhappy with the jobs, but only 13% are willing to leave.  Simply put, the constant threat of unemployment is causing many people to remain in their current positions.

Employers must develop an effective hiring program that will enable them to actively seek out candidates, generate, interest in their companies, and hire the right employees.  Finding the right person for the job is not necessarily a simple process.  One import aspect to consider during the hiring process is personality. We live in a diverse world that is filled with many different types of people.  Each person has a unique personality.  With so much diversity, how do we find the right people to fill positions within our company?  It is impossible to try to fit such diversity into a few “pigeon holes” and determine how well they fit into a specific position.  There are many factors that influence personality; such as, culture, environment, heredity, and upbringing.  We all develop our character and personality traits from several different sources throughout our lives.  How do we determine which personality traits are the best fit for a position, and which candidate(s) possesses those traits?  Can we actually make accurate determinations?

An effective hiring program must include highly qualified, reliable assessments. Assessments aid us in the process or sorting out these traits that lie within each applicant.  They allow us to determine which who may be the best fit for a particular position.  Why is this knowledge so valuable?  To answer that question, one must first consider the consequences of hiring the wrong person for the job.  All too often, businesses make this mistake, which results in both employee and employer losing.  However, when a company hires the right person for the particular position, not only will it benefit from the match, the individual is able to achieve their potential in that position.  It becomes a win-win situation for all involved.

What is an assessment?  First of all, an assessment is not a test.  It is not a pass or fail questionnaire.  It is simply a profile that enables the employer to make an honest evaluation of the type of personality the applicant possesses.  An assessment is based on the information the applicant provided along with the consistency of those answer.

Does an assessment replace the job candidate interview?  The answer is absolutely not!  Much information can be learned from an interview.  Both employer and candidate need to discover if the match would indeed be a good fit.  The assessment allows the employer to look further before making a decision on how well the candidate fits into both the position and the culture of the organization.  The assessment is the “next step” of the hiring process, and is both an effective and objective tool when evaluating the candidate.

To accurately determine which personality combined with what traits are needed for a specific position, you need to employ a “benchmark” system.  What is benchmarking? Benchmarking is a key component to the hiring process, as it identifies specific personality traits that are best suited to a particular position.  By knowing the traits and personality requirements of the job, you can better match the personality of the candidate to the position.  Furthermore, benchmarking:

  • Provides better understanding of job requirements
  • Reduces bias and increases objectivity
  • Distinguishes top performers
  • Focuses your interview questions on areas needing additional probing

How does benchmarking work?  Benchmarking is done by profiling top performers in a given position.  For instance, if you were looking to hire a salesman for your company, you would want to know what characteristics and traits the top sales performers have.  Some assessments provide benchmarks based on national findings.  You would then compare the assessment taken by the sales candidate with the national benchmark scores. However, we believe the most accurate benchmarking system will allow you to benchmark your own employees.  Let’s say you have a team of ten salespeople.  Out of those ten, one individual stands out as your top performer on a consistent basis.  You would use this top performer’s profile as your benchmark.  Using these scores, a benchmark file can be created.  This would be your standard to see how the candidates’ profiles measure up.  Why is the in-company benchmark more effective?  For one thing, markets and demographics can vary from one region to another.  Someone could be successful at selling in Atlanta, but have more difficulty selling the same products in Portland.  Another aspect to consider is the culture of your own organization.  Your company has a unique culture that will not suit all candidates. To obtain the most effective benchmark, these criteria must be considered.

Assessments can now be taken online, which saves an enormous amount of time.  Potential candidates can take them prior to the interview.  If an applicant comes close to matching the benchmark numbers, they can be called in for an interview.  Those who don’t come close would not need to be interviewed.

Depending on the position, other assessments can be administered.  Using our sales position example, we could provide the candidate who comes to the interview a Sales Aptitude Assessment.  This will reveal the level of sales ability, as well as how much knowledge he or she has in sales.  It will also identify specific areas in which he or she needs to improve. These assessments can also be benchmarked.  If the applicant scores lower than your top performers, you will need to decide if you want to spend the time training them.  This, of course, would depend on several factors, such as company policy or the availability of training programs.  Many companies want to provide training to all new hires, and that can be advantageous in many respects.

We recommend that each applicant take at least two assessments during the hiring process.  Current employees also benefit from taking assessments.  Many times, assessments reveal areas of weakness where further training is needed.  Using assessments in this manner allows you to fine-tune your departments.

Custom Aptitude Assessments may be developed for industry knowledge, product knowledge, or any other application of your choosing.  They can be given to sales teams, customer support teams, or other staff members to find out how much they really know.  Misinformation is the cause of many lost sales or clients.

We offer several other assessments that are valuable in determining other aspects of the employees within your organization, such as team-building, understanding the power of values, and job factor analysis.  In addition to providing assessments, we offer over forty training and development programs that are fully customizable to our clients’ needs.

A company’s richest and most valuable resources are the people who work there, and an investment in employees will result in increased productivity, improved performance, and increased profitability.

For more information, visit us at



Works Consulted

Dickler, Jessica, “Workers Saying No to New Jobs”,, December 17, 2008,


Fernandez-Araoz and others, “The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad”, Harvard Business Review, May 1, 2009,

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,


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