Get It Right: Excellence through Predictive Hiring 

The simple idea of hiring right can profoundly impact your success in creating a high performance organization, and yet for many organizations, a “Great Hire” continues to be elusive and many organizational leaders struggle to crack the mystery of a great hire. 

In our research we’ve discovered that the top reasons many organizations fall short in finding and hiring the right people for the job, are 1) they compromise and settle for less because of immediate pressures they are experiencing, and 2) they lack the disciplines in place to shape excellence in their hiring processes. By contrast, high performance organizations are more consistent and successful in securing the right people for the right spots because they recognize that they don’t have the luxury of a bad hire!  As a result, they don't fill open positions with whoever walks in the door.  They foster a culture that hires only the best fit for each role.  They don't select people and then find themselves trying to convince the new hire to embrace their core values. Instead, choose to only invite individuals who already possess their values and DNA.  This ultimately allows the new hire to fulfill their calling and apply their strengths. 

Something Has To Change

In the end, we have in our organizations only what we cultivate or tolerate, so high performance organizations get it right when their leaders establish a rigorous hiring process and commit to it with a no compromise approach. If this is the case, why is it that many managers take the easy way out, or fail to apply excellence in hiring practices?  

We believe the reason is simple: hiring managers believe they're good judges of character.  They say to themselves, "This can't be that difficult.”  So they don’t prepare thoroughly for the interview.  Despite misfires or lackluster hires in the past, there's a sort of misplaced optimism that sets in that makes them say, "I'm gonna get it right the next time."  

Unfortunately, this is a bad bet. A popularized adage defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result”.  In reality only changed behavior will produce changed outcomes and if these managers don’t change the methods they employ, there is no reason to believe they will produce better or more reliable results in the future than they have in the past. It’s likely that mis-hires will continue to wreak havoc on our organizations and the great people we work with, not to mention the havoc that we personally reap and the negative effects on the bottom line of our organizations.  Somehow we have to stop this.  

A Great Hire Takes More Than Good Luck

Solomon reminds us in Proverbs 26:10, "Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passerby."  This proverb was written 7,000 years ago and it's so applicable to us today.  Great hires merit our best attention and intention and it is vitally important to triple the rigor of your hiring process if you want to become a high performance organization. 

Peter Drucker estimated that two-thirds of all hiring decisions ultimately prove to be hiring mistakes.  Most managers would estimate that they have a 50/50 shot at getting hiring decisions right. However, we know that a few organizations like Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, and Ritz-Carlton employ a more predictive hiring process that allows them to achieve results far more reliable and productive results than other organizations.  That's why we call them high performance organizations.  Chick-fil-A executive Mark Miller states in his new book, Chess Not Checkers, "If you intend to be a High Performance Organization, recruit the best, select the best, retain the best, and accept no less.  At Chick-fil-A, hiring is 90% of the equation."

The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ & The Five Attributes™

Few achievements of any consequence have ever been gained without sacrifice, struggle and discipline.  Similarly, the hiring success of these high performance organizations is rooted in their ability to follow a consistent and disciplined process for every new hire.

Our approach to hiring reflects the pivotal elements of this process, what we call The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ and The Five Attributes™.  We know these principles work because they’re tried and true. They’ve taken the guesswork out of hiring, and have enabled the organizations employing them to reap the benefits of a truly predictive process.

Prior to having technology that allowed us to "see" into the ground, people depended on divining rods to find water wells, metals, gemstones, and even missing people.  Our work in The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ and The Five Attributes™ provides a divining rod for talent acquisition. It points leaders in a productive direction and connects them with the resources and tools of a reliable and predictive hiring process.  

The Six Disciplines 

The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ help guide a leader’s process and priorities so that things stay on the critical path to a great hire.

The first of the Six Disciplines is Alignment.  In the rush of other demands, this critical commitment is overlooked by many organizations, or is simply not prioritized. It’s vital to be clear about what you're looking for, if you want to avoid wasted time, unproductive conflict, and unnecessary risk to your organization.  According to a study performed by Watson Wyatt, "If the alignment step is skipped, you sharply decrease the ability of finding high potential talent by 56%."  You will experience significantly increased precision when you really take the Alignment step seriously.

Another critical Discipline is Screening.  This step involves multiple rounds of rigorous, systematic interviewing through open-ended, behavior-based questioning.  The best predictor of future performance is past performance.   Open-ended, behavior-based questions require deeper thinking and richer responses than simple yes or no questions.  Consequently, they provide valuable insight into candidates’ actual activity -- how they solved problems or handled particular tasks or responsibilities in the past—and serve as reasonable predictors of how they will perform within your organization in the future. 

The Five Attributes

During Screening, leaders seek to evaluate candidates regarding The Five Attributes™. These characteristics include the oft-communicated “3 C's of Hiring” (i.e. Character, Competence, and Chemistry) as well as two additional characteristics that correlate with successful hires and high performance. The first of these is Calling—the degree to which candidates are living their lives by God's assignment.  The second of these is Contribution—the ability of the candidate to make an immediate and long-term, positive impact on the organization and to what extent the candidate will perform with excellence.  

In July 2009, a world-class committee of sports experts helped the Sporting News rank the 50 greatest sports coaches of all time, in all sports. Number one on that list was Coach John Wooden.  His ten NCAA national championships over twelve years is a record that is still unmatched today by any other coach in history. Coach Wooden was also a man who honored God and His Word. 

One of the most quoted Woodenisms is, "Never mistake activity for achievement."  In this statement, Coach Wooden highlights the difference between simply doing work and honest-to-goodness getting stuff done. Just because you're busy doesn't mean you're accomplishing anything. Making the right things happen is essential to the success of a high performance organization. 

Taking this to heart, today’s leaders need to not merely be busy about the business of hiring, but must be strategic in choosing how and where to be active. The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ and The Five Attributes™ are valuable aids in directing their energy and attention and demystifying the art of a great hire.

Originally Published by Outcomes Magazine 

You can learn more about The Five Attributes™: Essentials of Hiring by going to  Be watching for the coming book release of The Six Disciplines of Predictive Hiring™ by Chad Carter.

Chad Carter