Posted by: Joe Hoffman | August 5, 2008

The Art of the Hire Part II Integrity

A few weeks back I started a series concerning the “Art Of The Hire“, the first part of which was using the concept of minimally required Knowledge, Skills and Attributes (KSAs) to screen into the interview pool.  Proceed only with those people who are able to perform the actual work at hand.

I chose the series title, “Art Of The Hire” because the vast majority of hiring managers really treat the process as an art, relying on their intuition, past track record, gut feel, and their own sense of their ability to learn how the candidate thinks, behaves when poked and how they relate their personal interests to you the perspective employer.   Moreover, the manger attempts to discern if the candidates is actually telling the truth or are they polishing the apple?  Even the greatest artists study and apply science to their efforts.  Leonardo Da Vinci studied anatomy, geometry and mathematics to improve his performance as a painter and sculptor.  Shouldn’t we as employers use the tools available to improve our performance when we bet the company and hire someone?

What is the step after screening for KSAs?  In my opinion, it should be an assessment of the candidate’s:
•    Honesty/Integrity
•    Reliability
•    Work Ethic
•    Their attitude toward substance abuse in the workplace
•    Are they faking their answers

Whether you are filling an entry-level position, making that first hire or looking for a C-level person, these attributes are key to your future likelihood of staying in business.  If you doubt me, read “Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” by Bethany McLean and Robert Elkind.  Although Enron made a commitment to hiring smart people, often the product of places such as the Harvard Business School, the total lack of a moral and ethical center in the organization allowed each individual hired to act more cutthroat then the next one. Over time the result was bankruptcy, criminal charges and thousands of people hurt.  A few simple assessments would have spotted the problem with an ethical center.

The real underlying reason that we should all be using validated assessment tools as an element of our hiring decisions is that it provides our business and ourselves with a competitive edge, even if it is only a small edge that results from having lower turnover, more productive and happier employees.

An old Fable

Once, a friend & I were walking along an Alaska Salmon Stream, with shoulder-high reed grass all around us….


Suddenly, in front of us, there was unmistakable evidence that a bear had just been in the area… (No, it wasn’t tracks…)


For a while my friend stood, looking for the bear. Then, turning around, he realized I had been changing out of my hiking boots, and into my tennis shoes. “John,” he said sadly, “you can’t outrun a bear—they can go 30 miles an hour!”


•    Bill,” I replied, “I don’t have to outrun the bear—I just need to outrun you!”

Over time, that slight edge in hiring will translate into higher quality employees who create more wealth for the business owner.   There are a number of such tools on the market but use only validated tools (that is a statistical term that means the tool actually measures or predicts, in the real world, what it says it does).  If you would like more information, contact me directly.

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