Nobody wants to hire the wrong person. Worse yet, nobody wants to hire the wrong person when they thought it was right person.

But it happens all the time, and it could happen to you—if you rely solely on traditional screening and interviewing techniques alone. So how can you drastically reduce the risk of a “mis-hire” and ensure that your hiring process is as targeted and effective as it can possibly be? By taking the following two key steps for hiring a “complete candidate.”


Step #1—Evaluation of the position


The first step is to evaluate the position as the previous person left it. Determine what the position entailed and what it was intended to accomplish. Also—and this is vitally important—what should it accomplish in the future? How will the position grow and change with the company’s vision and objectives? You need to set these criteria first before selecting an individual to fill the position.


So now you have a profile in mind for the person you want. You have both short-term and long-term expectations for the position, in addition to the skills and behaviors you believe the person will need in order to carry them out.  Reaching this point is half the battle. Many times, the wrong person is hired because not enough attention has been paid to the parameters of the position in its current state, to say nothing of where the position may go in the future.


Step #2—Evaluation of the candidate


The next step is the interviewing of the candidate, and their answers to your questions will help you to determine if they possess the necessary behaviors to excel in the position. The key, however, is to ask questions that will elicit detailed responses that focus not only on the candidate’s skills, but also on how they utilize those skills and in what manner they facilitate their problem-solving strategies.


That means many of your questions might be “situational” in nature. The situation may be a real one from the candidate’s past or a fictitious one that you’re posing to them to see how they react. And it’s not enough to ask the initial question and leave it at that. Follow-up questions are essential to discovering how the candidate will think and act in a given situation—in short, how they’ll behave as a member of your team.


Instead of saying “Tell me about yourself,” you might say, “Tell me about a situation where you had to overcome a conflict, either between you and another co-worker or between two other co-workers, in order to accomplish a common goal.” And while the candidate tells their story, you can ask additional questions, such as “What were you thinking at that point” or “What led you to make that particular decision?” These questions will help you to uncover the candidate’s behaviors, characteristics, and interpersonal skills.


There’s a saying that goes, “People are hired for what they do, and they’re fired for who they are.” If you hire people for both who they are and what they do, you’ll find they might stick around for a long, long time.