Look at the person leaving the role and identify the skills, qualities and experience that they possess and that are essential to replace.

A position has come up in your business or team. So what’s the best way to go about filling that role? If you want to hire the right person you need to understand some fundamental realities about people’s personalities, according to behavioural strategist Warren Kennaugh, who works with corporate leaders, professional athletes and teams.

Depending on how urgently you need the position filled, the natural reaction is to grab the first person who passes by, but that means there is little thought about whether that person is fundamentally suited to the role, says Kennaugh. It’s all about keeping up with global recruitment trends, and this simple checklist can help ensure you are hiring the right people.

Outline the level of skill and experience the role requires

If you are serious about making better recruitment decisions and elevating performance consistently, identify what high performance looks like in that role.

“Benchmark it if possible and look at similar roles outside your business. The purpose of this exercise is to gain a very clear picture of the role you need to fill, rather than the person you might like to fill it.”

Analyse behaviour and intrinsic motivations

Next, genuinely assess the candidates to ensure the right fit, says Kennaugh.

“Look at the person leaving the role and identify the skills, qualities and experience that they possess and that are essential to replace. Essentially fit is an appreciation of ‘inside’, ‘bright side’ and ‘dark side’.”

You can use these definitions to try and understand someone’s personality and natural tendencies to ensure they fit into your work culture and into the role.  

‘Inside’ refers to the reasons an individual does what they do – the intrinsic motivation and default behaviours that drive them. These are things people do naturally, whether someone is watching or not. ‘Brightside’ is the term for your best self and your value, and ‘dark side’ is how people behave under pressure and the potential mistakes they might make in these situations.

This level of analysis can be applied to all staff to balance your expectation levels with your understanding of their capabilities, their typical patterns of behaviour and their reaction when under pressure, says Kennaugh.

Identify whether the candidate can perform under pressure

“A coach or leader might be impressed by the performance of a team member and assume that individual is therefore capable of that stellar performance all the time. If, however, the individual was operating at the very edge of his capabilities, or has been suitably motivated to push out beyond those capabilities as a one-off effort, then it’s probably not sustainable,” says Kennaugh.

Everyone can perform highly at one point. The key is to recognise whether someone’s natural and consistent actions would be considered high performing for the majority of the time and operate from there.

Once you know, you can match candidates with that role profile, instead of someone who may occasionally do well or someone who is destined to fail right from the start, advises Kennaugh.

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