Hiring for the Right Reasons: Using Competency Models to Make Better Hires

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Hiring for the Right Reasons: Using Competency Models to Make Better Hires

Making good hiring decisions is a crucial component of HR and one of the reasons competency and behavioral models exist in the first place. Here, hiring managers can look for behaviors that show alignment with the role, key company values, and towards desired engagement and productivity.

For example, you can define key traits you are looking for and then screen for them during interviews to find as-close-to an ideal match as possible. This will reduce churn and boost engagement, because you won’t be hiring individuals who want any job so long as it’s a job.

Cultural Match

Company culture is inherent in your organization and it is something your hire will have to adapt to. This is important because clashes in culture will create friction and dissatisfaction and may result in fast churn.

For example, if a new hire is accustomed to working with a waterfall method and is hired into an Agile company, they may struggle without the structure of direct managerial guidance.

Defining specific cultural values and choosing individuals who can fit into that culture quickly and with as little adaption as possible will increase the satisfaction and productivity of the new hire.

Core Values

Core values can be part of culture but are often something different. For example, if your company is dedicated reducing waste and improving efficiency and your new hire would rather work in a traditional way, regardless of waste, they will clash with company core values and may bottleneck or reduce efficiency in their team.

While some may adapt to new core values, many do not or take a significant period of time to do so. Core values can relate to intrinsic work patterns (such as Lean waste management or Agile self-sufficiency) but can also relate to morals and values, such as being eco-friendly.

Motivation and Career Path

People who want to be hired for the right reasons are often more important than the right people. For example, if you hire someone who is stuck in a job they hate and just wants and out, you’re hiring someone with no real personal motivation or investment in your company.

It’s important to look for and find specific motivation for your organization, even if your work is relatively simple. For example, if you’re hiring a clerk at a fashion store, why did they apply to that store instead of other (unskilled) labor such as a fast food chain? What was their specific motivation.

Understanding motivation and career path become much more important as you move into roles where career development and succession planning or organizational growth are more common or likely – but are valuable to understand for nearly any role because someone without personal motivation for the role will have no personal motivation to perform well or innovate beyond just doing their job.

Pairing Personalities with Teams

It’s often the case that you make a great hire, pair them with a team, and they quickly lose motivation and either lose engagement or even leave. Why? The issue is often that the individual doesn’t personally agree with the team, its work methods, or even individuals on the team.

Working with competency models gives you the opportunity to define the key characteristics and traits required to fit into the team, the key characteristics and traits shown by individuals in the team, and those of the team as a whole, so that you can hire someone who is more likely to fit in as part of it. While this doesn’t mean everyone should be exactly the same, diversity is valuable and important in any team, it does mean you can actively work to not pair people with teams or individuals who may clash with their personality.

Competency models make it easier to define an ideal fit for a specific role by going beyond responsibilities and into personality characteristics and core behavior. This will, in turn, allow you to reduce churn and increase engagement by bringing on new people who show active engagement and interest in the role.


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