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If I were putting together a dream team of swimmers, my first pick would be Michael Phelps. I can’t afford Michael Phelps, so who else could I get? Whoops, I just made a hiring blunder. It’s not Michael Phelps I want. Well, Ok, I really do! But let’s look at this differently. Isn’t Michael Phelps just a representation of “what” I want accomplished? Simply stated, I want what Michael Phelps can do. He swims fast, trains ferociously and wins.

Far too many hiring managers are focused on “who” and not “what” when defining job criteria. By developing job criteria around actions and behaviors, not the person, you will have a better framework for hiring success. For small businesses, hiring Big Stars may be out of reach. Yet, hiring superstar actions and behaviors are not.

Let’s look at another example. I have heard one too many Rock Star singers butcher the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. Personally, I want to be moved to tears when I hear the song and I don’t really care “who” does it. It’s not the Rock Star I want to see. I want to hear the song sung in a way that emotionally moves me. So, if being moved was my hiring criteria for the role, I would hire the best singer who could deliver an outstanding vocal performance, regardless of their individual fame and fortune.

Here are two key factors to defining Success Criteria for hiring:

 What do you want the individual to do? (Actions)
 How will you know if they have succeeded? (Benchmarks)

Be specific about what you want the person to do or accomplish. Then set guidelines or benchmarks to determine if the person has successfully accomplished the actions. For example, if hiring a Controller, an action item could be to produce monthly financial statements. A benchmark for measuring success for this action item might be having the reports completed within five business days after month close.

Once you have fully defined the actions and benchmarks, you can then build the skill set that would most likely deliver the results you desire. If you would like more information on how to define your next hiring role, give us a call at 317-578-1310.

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