How to Hire Right-fit Employees

Debbie Zmorenski
Tags: talent management

According to, "One of the biggest challenges for companies is hiring the right candidates for their jobs and their culture. The reason is that most managers have not been trained in the art and science of hiring human beings." They cite the most common reasons for hiring wrong-fit employees as:

Following are some key methods for avoiding biases and making successful hiring decisions:

Identify Key Factors

Also referred to as knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), these are the key factors that the ideal candidate must possess to successfully perform the job. Once you have identified the KSAs, ensure that they are incorporated into the job description.

With regards to job descriptions, you first must have them. When consulting for companies who have asked us to help them with their hiring process, we often find that they do not have job descriptions or have generic descriptions used for several lines of businesses.

In addition, it is critical that a job description not only clearly state the KSAs necessary to qualify for a position but also the expected behaviors. Remember, it is not just about the candidate’s ability to perform the task; it is also about his or her ability to fit into the culture of the organization.

Ask Key Questions

Ask specific and measurable questions that will be asked of all candidates and that will clearly and behaviorally demonstrate that they have the KSAs to perform the job. While the candidate is responding to this type of question, the interviewer can observe how well the candidate analyzes situations, how rationally or logically the situation is presented, and how well he or she will fit into the organization.

To design and utilize an interviewing process that is specific and measurable, try the following tips:

Possible general questions might include:

Examples of possible behavior-based questions or open-ended questions designed to assess behavioral traits and tendencies of the candidate would be:

Possible situation-based questions or scenario questions stating a specific situation designed to assess the candidate’s likely response in a similar situation could include:

You may find it helpful to create an interviewing grid that contains the information you need to interview each candidate using the specific and measurable process described above.

Two sample grids are provided below. For each question, identify your ideal response and rate each candidate based on how close they come to the ideal response, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest score. This process allows for consistency in interviewing each candidate and also helps to reduce manipulation by savvy candidates. Be sure to allow enough time between interviews to write additional notes about the candidate and to assign a rating.

Behavior-based Grid

In this example, you have identified the behavior of integrity. The behavior-based question is intended to allow the potential candidate to express integrity without asking outright, "How do you demonstrate integrity?"

Situation-based Grid

In this question, you are assessing the candidate’s ability to act as a team player.