Performance Based Hiring


“When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.” Lou Holtz

I recently had an opening on my team, and one of the best resources I found on the subject of hiring was from the Personal MBA, which I have outlined below. Although we were not able to incorporate all of the tactics into this round of hiring, mainly because I need to work on becoming better at selling an idea, I think they can be a value add to any interview process. Leave a comment if you use any other tactics for your hiring process.

The Golden Rule: the best predictor of future behavior is past performance.

Short list of tactics to incorporate:

  1. Ask candidates to show you past projects they’re proud of
  2. Check references. “Would you work with the candidate again?”
  3. Give promising candidates a short-turnaround project.

A little more on each point:

  • Past projects – they don’t have to be directly related to the job in question, but it should be work that highlights their relevant skills. This will make it easier to identify their experience level and work ethic.
  • Checking references – contact the references: if they hesitate when you ask “would you work with this person again” the answer is “no”. The type of reference they leave tells a little about the story as well: are they giving you a past supervisor or someone who was their coach 10 years ago? The former will carry more weight.
  • Short Turnaround Project – this can be either role playing out a situation where they need to walk through a report with a “sales rep”, or digesting a data set and summarizing it in an email. There will be no “right” answer but it will show whether or not the person can think.


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