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How to know when you’ve made a good hire

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

As a front-line manager, you can tell firsthand when you've made a good hire or not. Right? Well, it depends. If you're trying to help your enterprise assess its overall "quality of hire"—that is, to measure the effectiveness of its recruiting and staffing strategies—then you need to focus on metrics that capture why you think a new hire is or isn't successful.

Quoted in Workforce Management, consultant Kevin Wheeler of Global Learning Resources identifies some things to look for:

Goal completion. What is a new hire supposed to accomplish in his or her first 90 days? A certain number of projects? A certain (measurable) standard of quality? Having a defined goal can make life easier for both the new employee and the enterprise.

Capacity. Often, you'll expect new hires to perform at a somewhat lower capacity (in terms of workload) than your experienced staff. But how much lower? You should be able to convey realistic expectations to new hires and track their subsequent performance.

Motivation. Many times, this is what influences managers when they make their initial quality-of-hire assessments. "Good" hires are gung-ho, "bad" hires are ho-hum. It's not wrong to use motivation as a criterion, even though it's inherently subjective. But it's important to document specific behaviors that might support your judgment.

Compatibility. Another subjective measure of a new hire's success is whether she makes a good fit with customers, coworkers or the team's or enterprise's work culture. It's important to remember that really, these are all judgments of a new hire's fit with a particular job. If she's less than successful in one position, she might prove to be a real asset in another.

Problem-solving skills. A manager might be tempted to conclude that a new hire isn't motivated, capable or compatible because he continually asks, "How do I do this?" or "What should I do now?" Wheeler points out that what might instead be lacking are problem-solving skills, which can be taught. Even if that's not enough to redeem a substandard new hire, it can give you guidance as you recruit and interview future candidates.

Bottom-Line Idea

You should feel free to hire any qualified candidate to replace a terminated poor performer, but be especially careful to hire the replacement under exactly the same terms. If the replacement's pay, working conditions or responsibilities can be construed to be better, then your actions before firing the poor performer may come under increased scrutiny.

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