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Hiring Mistake #1

Mistake #1

Mistake #2

Mistake #3

Your Progress

Hiring on Skills Not Performance

In my email yesterday, I promised we’d reveal the 3 most costly hiring mistakes most businesses make and how to fix them.

Today I’m focusing on Mistake #1. It’s huge because it instantly causes candidates to disengage PLUS practically every company makes it. So let’s dig right in.

Hiring on Skills Not Performance

Checking to see if your company makes this mistake is easy – just read your job postings.  If the position description reads like a laundry list of requirements – guess what – You’re hiring on skills.  Most postings read like this:

•            Must have 5- years experience in _______

•            MBA  or MSEE required

•            Self Starter

•            Can do Attitude

•            Must know __________


Most companies screen and hire candidates exclusively on experience and skills – not actual performance.  And if your postings start with an obligatory paragraph about how great your company, that’s yet another big turn off.

And while these long lists of required “skills” may weed out some unqualified active candidates – they also exclude the best.   Top performers may never see your posting or if they do, they tune out because the opportunity isn’t articulated clearly.

What can we do about it?

To understand why they are tuning us out, we need to understand a bit of human psychology


Every great candidate wants a great job not a lateral move.  They want a job that will allow them growth and or a challenge.  Skills based job descriptions at best pitch the candidate on taking the same job they have now.  That’s hardly a strong candidate value proposition.  Recruiters and managers both want to attract top talent and to do that they have to be able to describe in detail what a candidate will get to do in the position -- what’s in it for them.  That requires that every job be defined on two dimensions – The performance required for success (The top 5-6 KPOs- Key Performance Objectives) AND the employee value proposition (EVP).  The EVP is the way we recruit top talent. 

In other words: if you only share a list of boring requirements on your job postings and Inmails, great people naturally tune you out.

So when you start your recruitment advertising talking about how great your company is, the awards you’ve won and the great products you have – you exclude the real hero of your story from the picture – the candidate.  And what is your candidate’s brain doing?  It’s trying to figure out if anything you are saying is relevant to them.  And once it determines that the information is irrelevant to finding a great new job, they move on.

Candidates only care about what’s in it for them.  They want to know what they get to DO and BECOME! 



TAKE ACTION: Three steps to see if your recruiting approach is based on skills or performance. 

• Print out three job postings from your company.

• Circle every word/paragraph that talks only about your company – cross these out.

• Circle every word, phrase or sentence that is just a listing a requirement or a skill – cross these out.

• If what’s left doesn’t contain clear information about what the candidate will be DOING on the Job, why the job is important and what they will BECOME if they knock this opportunity out of the park – You’re hiring on skills not performance. 

If you have that nagging feeling that your business is losing out on the best talent and that your business could be growing even faster if you just had the right people, you’re probably right.  Keep an eye on your inbox, and I’ll teach you how to avoid the second mistake.

Are you ready to take action now? Fix all your hiring problems in a Performance-based Hiring Workshop. 

Does your company have more than 500 employees or 10 recruiters?

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