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How to avoid hiring the wrong person

Jan 05, 2023

Finding the perfect hire is hard enough, right? But once you think you have the right person, you still need to make sure that person really is as fantastic as you think they are.

The cost of hiring the wrong person is high, and you want to avoid any unnecessary risks while leveraging the information you can obtain from professional references and behavioral interviews.

Behavioral interviews

In situations where the candidate’s Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment is not an exact match to the job, behavioral-based interviewing can be extra valuable. In one situation, a sales candidate had a lower B (social factor) than the role called for. Questions around his engagement levels and social skills (the behavior expressed with a high B) revealed that he was most animated in conversations where he had an interest or expertise. He was hired by the client, who was aware that he would do best in technical sales situations, while relationship-based sales would be more of a challenge for him.

Likewise, a client was reviewing candidates for an administrative assistant role and, according to the Predictive Index Behavior Assessment data, the most favorable candidate had difficulties making decisions (A/D conflict), yet she had been in administrative roles for more than 20 years. Calls to her references corroborated that the successes described in her interviews were true, and questions about her decision-making skills revealed that in her areas of expertise, she was very capable of making informed, quick decisions in areas she was comfortable in. She is still in that role today.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Was the non-detail-oriented candidate able to get tasks done when called upon to do so?
  • Did the socially oriented candidate ever talk too much and distract other employees?
  • How well did the less socially oriented candidate communicate with you?
  • Did the non-detail-oriented candidate follow company protocol?
  • Did the candidate with high patience finish projects in a timely manner?
  • Did the low-patience, non-detail-oriented candidate rush through activities and forget about details or following the rules?

Checking references

You can also use the reference-checking process to inquire into a candidate’s behaviors as shown in their Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, just as you would with a behavioral interview. You may learn some interesting things about their workplace behavior and see some insights into weaknesses or strengths.

Checking references is vital at the end of the hiring process. Along with a background check and other tasks in your company’s policy, calling references and asking them specific questions is one that you should consider. Depending on the references provided, you may receive a detailed response from a previous employer or simply dates. Generally, candidates are asked to provide a minimum of three references, ideally from a former boss, a peer and a subordinate (depending on the level of the person).

You can make a hiring decision contingent upon all references checking out. If you can’t speak to someone who worked with your candidate at their current company, once they have accepted an offer from you and told their company of their plans, give the former boss a ring. If your new hire has been dishonest on their application, the deal is off.

Checking references is a necessary activity that you might feel like you don’t have the time for, and often you don’t find any problems, but think of all the time and money you’ll save by avoiding that bad hire.

With insightful information based on the candidate’s Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, you can make a more informed hiring decision. Answers from the reference-checking and behavioral interviewing process can be used to select candidates, or to gain information to improve your management of the candidate once they are brought aboard to the new position.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli is a Predictive Index certified partner. Learn more about how Wipfli Predictive Index analysts can help you hire top talent, build a strong community and increase team performance.

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Jennifer Mackin
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