Forget the Resume for a
second. “Qualifications” aren’t nearlyas important as past performance inselecting the best candidate for anyjob. And yet, hiring managers all toooften allow themselves to be swayedby skill sets on a candidate’s resume- rather than concentrating on the
deliverables the candidate has pro-duced, and objectives achieved.

Simply changing your hiring
focus from “having” to “doing”should eventually lead you to thebest fit for your particular job. Ifyou’re creating a new position, it’sessential you involve the hiring man-ager in writing the job description;
otherwise, you risk overlooking theskills and experience you need to fillthe position – which usually pro-
duces the same result: A bad hire.All of which is why the time a hiringmanager invests in designing the
proper job profile is invaluable.

So how can you transform your
hiring practices from a subjective artto the kind of objective process thatinevitably leads you to “hire better”?

Define the Baselines

The first step is to “define” supe-
rior performance – and how itapplies to your hiring needs. Thebest way to do this is to develop aPerformance Profile – a list of priori-tized objectives that will define suc-cess in your organization. Everyoneon your hiring team should agree onthese objectives, thereby eliminatingdoubt as to what you’re looking for
in a particular candidate. A well-designed Performance Profile willnot only lead you to the right hire, itcan be used to review, reward and promote your employee.

The second step is to define the
job, not the person. The importanceof this step cannot be overstated.
Too many managers look for the per-fect candidate. In reality, the perfectcandidate does not exist, but the
perfect job does. Focus on the chal-lenges of the position – and whatthe position can bring to a potentialcandidate from a learning or knowl-edge perspective. The best of the
best want to be stretched; they’relooking for opportunities based onwhat they’ll be doing and learning -not based on the skills on their

Define the results you want
before you worry about “skills.” If acandidate can meet your job
description’s performance objec-tives, then he or she obviously has the skill set needed to get the jobdone.

When it comes to technical
skills, again, focus more on theapplication, the expected outcomeor your candidate’s ability to use hisor her technical skills – rather thanan arbitrary level of skill. For
instance, instead of requiring fiveyears of Dot.Net-related software experience plus a Degree in
Computer Science, seek a developerwho can “Lead the integration efforton a new Dot.Net platform and com-plete the database interface require-ments to ensure efficient online ordering” – assuming that is what you’re looking to accomplish.

Performance First

Lastly, if you have to compro-
mise, compromise on experience,not performance. Just because
someone has years of experience,there’s no guarantee they know
what they’re doing. During the inter-view, discuss past performance, andexplore and investigate what the
candidate has achieved rather thanfocusing on their education and

Hiring the right person is not a
foolproof science. It never will be.But you can improve your odds byinvesting upfront time developingjob descriptions – allowing you tobase hiring decisions on the kind ofcriteria that lead to successful candi-date searches.

Remember that past perform-
ance is the best predictor of futureperformance. Each and every aspectof hiring is improved when superiorperformance – not arbitrary levels ofskills and experience – becomes theselection standard. A candidate’s
personality and interviewing skillsare poor substitutes for performanceas your benchmark.

Scott Simon founded Adatech in 1998.They may be contacted via email