Performance-Based Hiring: Why It Works in a Tight Labor Market

August 9, 2019

Today's labor market is so tight that it is becoming increasingly more difficult for companies to find top talent in their respective industries. If your client’s company is struggling to recruit and hire, we have a suggestion: embrace performance-based hiring.

Performance-based hiring is a concept originally developed by a consulting firm known as The Adler Group. As the originators of performance-based hiring, The Adler Group has changed the way America's best employers recruit and hire.

A Brief Explanation

Performance-based hiring is, in its most basic form, a method of recruiting and hiring rooted in how a particular candidate will perform on the job. It is less interested in how candidates present themselves on paper or during the interview process. This is an especially important distinction.

Anyone can put a list of qualifications on paper. A lot of people can perform very well during face-to-face interviews. But neither ability guarantees a new hire can actually get the job done. That's why the old adage that "good help is hard to find" is as true today as it was when first coined.

Job Postings Automatically Screen

Performance-based hiring involves a four-step process that begins with writing performance-based job postings. The beauty of these job postings is that they automatically screen candidates. What is a performance-based job description? One that lists job duties instead of qualifications.

Most job descriptions focus primarily on educational and skills requirements. They are extremely vague in terms of what the job requires. A performance-based job description explains what will be expected of the new hire. For example, the job description for a content creation specialist might say something like: create 10 quality blog posts per week; thoroughly research and write two feature pieces per month.

Go after Passive Candidates

The next mistake recruiters make is only going after active candidates. Performance-based hiring also goes after passive candidates who might not be looking for new job but are willing to entertain an offer. Working with a professional recruiter is one way to source passive candidates. Another way is to utilize social media channels. Putting the word out on sites like Facebook and Twitter can yield great results.

Create Performance Tests

If the goal of performance-based hiring is to find candidates who can actually do the job, you need some sort of test to verify skills. Some jobs are such that you can ask applicants to submit samples of their work. Think writers, graphic designers, and so forth. Other jobs are not so amenable to work samples.

For these kinds of jobs, you can pose a very specific problem and challenge candidates to submit an explanation of how they would solve it. Ask them to be as detailed as possible. This sort of test makes it easier to identify the candidates best suited to your work environment.

Conduct a Performance Interview

Finally, conduct an interview commensurate with the performance-based hiring principal. This sort of interview is arranged with a set format that job candidates are presented with when first invited to interview. Giving them time to prepare is the first step in seeing how well they perform.

The Adler Group's interview involves eight components, including an amount of time set aside during which candidates have an opportunity to prove themselves. They might be given a task that has to completed it in a certain amount of time.

Performance-based hiring works by weeding out the most undesirable candidates. HR managers can then focus on those they know are perfect for the job. It cares less about credentials and more about what a candidate can actually do.

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