Tag Archives: Hiring

The “Threshold of Hireability”

When you’re trying to fill an open position, the way to do it is by finding the best candidate in the applicant pool, and then offering them the position, right?

Well, sort of.

You can go this route, and it’s particularly tempting after you’ve  reviewed all of the candidates, phone interviewed many of them, brought several of them in for in-person interviews, and brought a few in for MORE in-person interviews, ALL while trying to keep up with the workload in your short-staffed shop.

“Let’s just hire the best available candidate, and we’ll move forward from there.” (After all, any deficiencies they have can be made up for through some super-awesome training and coaching on my part!)

Problem is, if your top candidate doesn’t cross the Threshold of Hireability, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Any time I’m deciding whether or not to extend a job offer, the most important question I ask is whether or not the candidate crosses this Threshold. If not, I keep looking.

What exactly is the “Threshold of Hireability?” It’s the dividing line that separates the truly hireable candidates from the ones that are just okay. If a candidate doesn’t make it past this line, don’t even consider hiring them, even if you are in a pinch.

How do you set your Threshold of Hireability? Ultimately, that is up to you as the person making the hiring decision, but it comes down to this: What are the skills and attributes that are essential for the successful candidate? What are the deal-makers and deal-breakers in terms of what a candidate brings to the table? What qualities does the candidate need to have to be a valuable addition to your team?

Consciously defining your Threshold of Hireability — and then thinking about your top candidate(s) in the context of that standard — positions you to make a much better hiring decision than you would if you simply chose the best applicant. There are a number of reasons why you don’t want to make a bad hire, and the Threshold of Hireability is one “tool” that can help keep you from making such a mistake.

Never settle for anyone who doesn’t meet the standard you set; and if you find that more than one candidate clearly exceeds the Threshold, wonderful! Your hiring decision just got a whole lot easier!


The most important thing you do as a manager

If you manage people and/or a department, you probably do a lot of different important things, like assigning work, managing workloads, coaching and mentoring, training, managing a budget, etc. And they really are all important. But nearly all of them are dependent on the MOST important thing you will ever do as a manager:


Hiring the wrong person for a job can have a lot of potentially long-lasting negative impact:

Deliverables can suffer
If you get someone who is unqualified to do the work or does not have any drive to do it well, not only will you have to deal with the immediate effects of their sub-par work, you’ll also have to spend more time training the person to do it right; figuring out how to motivate them to do their best work (motivating people should not be a manager’s job, but that’s a topic for another post); checking and double-checking their work more frequently to ensure that it is up to snuff. It can all become a serious time-sink.

Relationships can suffer
Every department and organization has a culture and the people within it have a way of working together. If your new hire doesn’t fit well with everyone else and integrate effectively with the generally accepted working styles, others can be rubbed the wrong way by that person, which may slowly chip away at relationships you’ve worked hard to build and maintain.

Morale can suffer
You know that guy who just does C-average work and phones it in all day? Everybody else on your team resents him. And if you’re the person who hired him, folks might not be too thrilled with you now, either. None of this likely makes any of your team members feel great about the workplace in general.

Probably the worst part of making a bad hire is the fact that it can be very difficult to remedy. If I don’t like a vendor I’m working with, I don’t have to renew my contract with them. In most personnel situations, I don’t have that option. I will have to go through a termination process or find a way to encourage the person to pursue other career opportunities. The former can be really unpleasant (at best!), and the latter may be really difficult, particularly if the employee is intent on staying in their current position.

If you’re making a hire, take the time to do it right and don’t settle for someone sub-par just because you feel pressured to fill the position. It is much better to suffer through a little extra time being short one person than to suffer through  a loooonnnnnggg time dealing with the repercussions of getting the wrong person.

More thoughts on good hiring to come in the near future…