7 Best Practices For Nuanced Candidate Evaluation

Sorry, there’s no “HR algorithm.”

THE GOOD NEWS: We’ve compiled seven best practices for understanding the behavioral tendencies of candidates and current employees to better match individuals to roles that fit their natural strengths and preferences, ultimately setting the selected candidate up for success and quickly creating maximum value for your organization.

Best Practices For Your Next Candidate Evaluation

PICTURE SUCCESS AND WORK BACKWARDS. Instead of developing a rigid job specification, start by picturing what success in the role would look like in one year, three years, and five years, including diverse aspects like financial outcomes, customer and employee satisfaction, continuous improvement, career development, and succession planning.

KNOW THE TALENT MARKET. Assessing candidates requires a realistic picture of the market, including internal and external candidates. In our work with clients, we provide a comprehensive “talent map” that benchmarks internal talent against top executives globally. This averts the trap of the perfect, but non-existent, candidate. This approach broadens the candidate pool across industries, and expands the possibility of achieving maximum satisfaction with the ultimate choice – and achieving it faster.

HIRE FOR CHARACTER AND TRAIN FOR SKILL. Over-emphasizing experience and domain skills at the expense of leadership potential and competencies will lengthen the time to value in the role, but is also likely to result in a less than satisficing choice. Being quick off the starting line (domain experience) does not necessarily ensure a win, place, or show outcome in a marathon.

MAKE DEVELOPMENT A PRIORITY. Hiring for character and training for skill is pointless unless you maintain a robust development program. As part of a comprehensive talent management system, development should include ‘in-role’ development opportunities, developmental assignments, mentoring, and executive coaching. With the program established, you gain greater flexibility in selecting a candidate.

UNDERSTAND THE CANDIDATE’S CALCULUS. It is crucial to understand candidates’ motivations, concerns, and how they weigh the factors in an opportunity. Otherwise, you could be selecting someone who quickly derails or simply jumps into the role without genuinely calculating its personal and professional attractions and drawbacks. However, uncovering these aspects requires a skilled interviewer, as many candidates may have only half articulated the issues to themselves.

BE FLEXIBLE. Once you understand what weighs most heavily with a candidate, you can then determine whether the answer that satisfices is to adjust your requirements. Relocation, for example, is increasingly a concern for candidates today, as is the ability to work remotely if the role allows. Instead of rigidly insisting that the candidate relocate right away, if ever, you can find a mutually satisfactory solution that meets the needs of both the candidate and the company.

ESTABLISH A COMPREHENSIVE ONBOARDING PROGRAM. For effective, satisfying, and lasting results with new executives, a thorough onboarding program should begin well before the start date of the new hire. Instead of relying on senior hires to adapt, companies should actively implement an onboarding process that aligns the firm’s culture with the new executive’s interests, increasing the chances of success and ROI.

By using these best practices and adopting the satisfice principle, companies can seamlessly align individuals with roles that match their strengths and preferences, making nuanced evaluation possible and increasing the likelihood of the selected candidate succeeding.

Interested in how you can utilize the “satisfice” principle to make better decisions and create maximum value with your executive hires? Learn how in Cracking the Talent Acquisition Algorithm.

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