Hire Right The First Time

By Dana Borowka, MA

Is your company still hiring employees using the same process it did five years ago? Think carefully about the question for a moment. Is the company recruiting, screening, interviewing, and verifying using the same techniques and procedures as in the past?

Next question. Do you wonder why so many of your new hires don’t remain in their jobs over six months, or why other companies seem to attract and keep solid employees, but not your company?

It is time for every company to re-examine their hiring practices, or risk falling behind in the race to win great talent.

Interviewing, background checks, and skills testing are critical steps in your recruiting process. Combined, these practices form the pillars of a modern-day hiring procedure for companies and organizations of all sizes.

Why Change the Hiring Procedure?

A wrong hiring decision costs a company 2-3 times the employee’s annual salary. That hurts no matter if it’s an entry-level position or a top executive. Cost is reason enough to change how talent is recruited and hired. But, there’s even more justification for change.

The success of the entire organization is at stake. A company is only as good as the combined ability of its employees to meet customer expectations and outperform the competition. Good employees matter, but therein lies the problem.

Good employees are rare today no matter the industry. (For simplicity sake let’s define “good” as those people with the right skills and right work style personality to perform their given duties with excellence over time.) The demand for good employees is higher than ever. The supply is lower than ever. A company has to work differently today to find prospective employees and then identify the “good” ones – those that have the right work style personality and skills to do the job well within the company’s culture.

Learn the Right Way to Interview

The interview process in most companies is woefully ineffective, according to Barry Deutsch, Founder of Impact Hiring Solutions and co-author of “You’re Not the Person I Hired”,, and is largely to blame for poor hiring decisions. “Companies aren’t investing enough time in preparing for the interview,” he said. He advises his clients to first set the right expectations for the job and make everyone involved in the interview aware of the job’s expectations. “This goes hand in hand with a detailed job description. What is the position expected to know and to accomplish, and by when?”

Once the expectations are documented, map a list of questions to those expectations. “Stop asking the standard, stupid 20 questions. Get strategic with your questions so you receive pointed, meaningful answers,” Deutsch advises. “If you do this important step, you will move closer to hiring the best candidate not the candidate who interviews best.”

Validate Resume and Interview Answers

The next steps in the hiring process will be new to many companies, but a mandatory addition if the organization hopes to achieve a higher level of hiring success. The steps involve Background Checks, Skill Testing, and In-Depth Work Style Personality Assessments.

An article in Inc. Magazine quoted a HireRight 2017 employment screening benchmark report that claimed 85% of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes. According to Gordon Basichis, Co-Founder of Corra Group, criminal record and education deception are the most common “surprises” uncovered by Background Checks. The potential hidden liability for the employer is obvious.

Basichis explains that the most common mistake by employers is not going far enough with a background check simply because they are not aware of the types of background checks and in which cases they should be conducted.

  1. Employment verification. A leading point of inconsistency.
  2. Education verification. Another area of high discrepancy.
  3. Social Security Trace. Traces where someone has lived the past seven years.
  4. County Civil and Criminal Records. These tend to be the most accurate, but it’s important to know where the candidate has lived so all the counties can be searched.
  5. Federal Criminal and Federal Civil Records. Typically, these checks are for employees involved with government contracts, financial positions, or high-level executives.
  6. Terror Watch List.

Basichis urges companies to follow the advice of an HR specialist and employment attorney when setting policies for background checks. There are numerous regulations and guidelines at the Federal, State and City levels which must be followed regarding how Background Checks can be conducted and used in the hiring process.

Verifying Skills

Okay, the candidate aced the well-prepared interview questions, passed the background check with flying colors. Do you extend an offer? Not so fast.

The candidate may have said all the right things, but do they really have the skills required for the job? Testing is the only way to verify if the person can do the job as expected. Fortunately, online skills tests exist for hundreds of common jobs from Accounting to Manufacturing to Software Programming.

There simply isn’t an excuse today for hiring someone ill-suited for a job. Candidates can be given a 15-30 minute online skills test in your office and the results are known immediately.

Lighthouse Consulting offers its clients a catalog of some 200 Skills Tests (https://lighthouseconsulting.com/talent-development/skills-testing/) in 16 job categories. These pay-on-demand tests are low cost which is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of training or re-hiring.

Identifying the Work Style Personality

Great, the skills test was successful, the background checked out, and the interview questions were answered to your satisfaction. NOW can you make the offer? Maybe not. You may know a lot about this candidate, but you don’t know how they work, or how they work with others. That’s where in-depth work style personality assessments (https://lighthouseconsulting.com/assessment-tests/) play an invaluable role in hiring, promoting and team formation.

If you aren’t conducting this type of assessment, start doing so immediately. If you are using a tool with only four primary scales (5-10 minute assessment) it might work as a very basic screener but is too superficial to reveal insightful behavioral information about the candidate. In fact, some companies have learned to not even bother with these simplistic profiles. They prefer to give final candidates an in-depth assessment (minimum 164 questions).

As a manager you know all too well the importance of knowing an employee’s work style and how they will interact (or not) with others. Only in-depth assessments based on 16 levels (we call them “scales”) gives you a true picture of the individual on which a hiring decision can be based.

The Pillars of Hiring Success

The structure for achieving hiring success at 80% or better consists of four pillars.

  1. Recruitment
  2. Interviewing
  3. Background Checks
  4. Work Style Personality and Skill Assessments
Lighthouse and our partners stand ready to quickly help you put into place the training, tools, and procedures necessary to build a highly effective and competitive organization through better hiring. Reach out any time to get started.


Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2024

The team at  Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. This is done through the use of in-depth work style personality assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. Lighthouse can test in 19 different languages, provide executive and leadership coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact us at (310) 453-6556, email pattyc@lighthouseconsulting.com or visit our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.