How to Judge Applicants

“The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was” -Walt West

Most employers are still using the interview as their primary screening device. While the interview is an important aspect of the process, it is very subjective. Studies show that using an interview alone gives you only a 14% chance of the employee being successful.

By doing background checks and checking references this percentage increases to 26%, or about 1 out of 4 people you hire will ultimately be successful in the position.

What Works?

It is important to look at the steps leading to a hiring decision and to limit personal biases as much as possible.

Today, employers have proven scientific ways to make the hiring decision a less emotional one. For instance, many people have told me they can know in 30 seconds if a person is right to hire. Unless you are a psychic, this is a very unproductive and dangerous way to make hiring decisions. Decisions based primarily on personal biases upon first impression typically backfire.

The more scientific the screening process, the better opportunity you have of hiring the best person for the right position in your company.

What works is extensive recruiting and testing. Broader recruitment increases the talent pool. Let’s look at what integrated processes can do to increase employee success and lower turnover. Turnover in a company is extremely expensive and disruptive to production.

Self Screening Devices

A supplemental questionnaire to your normal application that asks pertinent questions specifically related to the skills, knowledge abilities and duties for this specific position is important.

Candidates often determine that they do not have the appropriate skills or would not like the specific duties that are critical to the position.

Personality Characteristics

Measuring personality characteristics needed for the position improve the hiring process success rate to 38%.


When applicants are assessed for abilities as well as personality, employers found they hired the right people approximately 54% percent of the time.


Using more sophisticated assessments that measure the interests of the candidate compared to the position raises the bar to 66%.

Job Match

The most impressive assessments to date are integrated assessments that measure a combination of factors, as well as introduce the component of “job match.”

This cutting-edge technology combined with empirical data evaluate “The Total Person” in a way that measures how candidates match the exemplary employees in the position.

These assessments have increased an employer’s ability to identify potentially excellent employees better than 75% of the time; a far cry from the rate of 14% rate using interviews only.

The Payoff

Doing it right really pays off! Take the time and make the small upfront investment to learn about the position being filled, what type of behavior it requires and what type of person best fits the job. The rewards are great; your business is more successful since your company is only as good as your employees.

I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , LA Lakers

Comments are closed.