How to Hire the Right Person for the Job: Going Beyond Just Qualifications

Did you know, three in four employers say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position? Can you afford to hire the wrong person for a vacant role?

Hiring the right person for the right job can be extremely challenging. You never truly know how someone will perform in a role until you’ve seen them in action. Yes, qualifications matter, past experience matters, personality matters, but the same person, with the same qualifications, experience and personality can perform very differently in two different work environments, proving that there is much more to consider when hiring someone.

Of course, there are the usual steps in the process—writing an accurate job description, ensuring the salary range is aligned with the current market, and researching the interview questions that are going to elicit the most useful responses—but how do you really find individuals who meet all the job requirements? Those individuals that can, and want to be part of realizing your vision?

It can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack—but it’s not impossible.

While there is no method of hiring that guarantees you’ll get it right every time, there are things you can do to minimize mistakes:

Look for people in the right places (outside of popular job boards)

Use your business network

The best place to start your search for a qualified candidate is within your own business network. Any referrals from this source will be trustworthy and reliable, because they are known to someone you trust. No one likes to make a bad referral, so any you get really should be worth meeting.

Make connections on LinkedIn

Using the filtered search tool there are many ways to narrow down a search to uncover some excellent candidates e.g. keywords, locations, and past company filters. You can then reach out to those people, either via message, or connecting with them, to see if your position is something of interest.

Use a staffing agency

If getting the right person for the job is integral to the success of your organization, the staffing agency fee (typically a percentage of the first year salary of the position) is well worth it. They also help with pre-screening candidates and only present the excellent ones to you, which can save hours. It’s also a smart way to hire if you have never had any experience hiring employees. According to a GlassDoor report, the average position costs $4,000 and takes 52 days to fill. Getting it wrong, says CareerBuilder, costs a company an average of $14,900.

Amaxra provides a full array of supplemental and fully-managed support services to help you identify highly capable talent that fits your requirements and culture.

Use past data to your advantage

Identify specific experience, skills, goals and other attributes that candidates who have been successful in the role in the past, or in similar roles, have possessed can help build a stronger candidate profile.

  1. Identify the channels your best past hires were found through e.g. LinkedIn, specific hiring site, a temporary staffing agency etc.
  2. Learn where any valuable employees left your organization to go to, and examine their employment efforts. What was the attraction to move to that company?

Use AI in your hiring

According to a CareerBuilder survey, one in 10 HR managers say AI is regularly being used in HR functions. One practice, referred to as Talent Rediscovery, uses scanning algorithms to identify previous applicants in your database who might be a good fit for a new role. This will significantly reduce hiring costs.

Never wing it when interviewing to find the right candidate

When it comes time to interview a candidate, preparation is of paramount importance. This is your opportunity to dig deep into a candidate’s experience, and learn more about their personality. Ask questions that are going to help determine if they can do the job. Sure, everyone can lie in an interview, but if the right questions are asked, deceptive candidates soon trip up.

Ask behavioral questions that solicit fuller responses.

You want to learn about the individual, so avoid questions that have a yes/no answer, or that don’t relate to behaviour on the job.

    • Ask what he or she liked most and/or least about the previous working environment.
    • Ask them their greatest accomplishment in their career to date.
    • Ask them about a time they had a conflict with a co-worker and how it was resolved.

With these types of questions, the candidate will think about a past experience, articulate what happened and what the outcome was, or what they learned.

Ask situational questions.

These allow you to get a better sense of how well a candidate will fit in a particular role. In this type of interview, you put the candidate into a situation that they might face in the position they are applying for, whether it’s in a role-play format, or by asking questions. For example, you could ask “How would you react if your ideas were rudely shut down in a meeting by your co-worker”.

Most good candidates will have reviewed many of their past experiences in their career, and have a list in the back of their minds covering a variety of situations. Good, solid answers to behavioural questions will help weed out candidates who were not prepared. However, when situational questions are introduced, the candidate can no longer rely on a past story that is well rehearsed in their mind. Instead, they are asked to answer what they would do in a certain situation. This type of question requires the candidate to not only use problem-solving skills for a hypothetical situation, but also to think of their feet.

Other forms of situational interview might involve doing a test piece of work. For example, for a marketing position, each of the top candidates is given the same information and asked to write a case study. The results would give a good indication of the kind of work they would produce on the job.

Research shows that situational interviews are about 50 percent more effective than traditional interviews and more predictive of future success on the job.

Ask questions that assess cultural fit:

A critical component of finding the right employee is identifying who is a good fit for your company culture. The most talented individual in the world will cause serious problems for your business if he or she isn’t the right fit, character-wise.

One of the challenges that organizations run into, however, is that all too often, the upper management and leadership teams don’t truly know their corporate culture. They might think they do, but the truth is, culture isn’t something that can be created overnight. It needs to be cultivated, and everyone must buy into it. Businesses need to first pinpoint their identity as an employer, and then accurately convey it to job seekers.

Use hiring tools to validate your final decision

After the interview process, there are a number of tools that can be utilized to to help ensure you’re hiring as close to the right person for the job as possible. Some examples include:

The Color Code Personality Test

The Color Code test not only identifies what people do but why they do it, allowing hiring managers to gain much deeper and more useful insights into what makes candidates tick.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This test assesses the candidate through a series of questions asking them to choose between two answers. The results determine what kind of person the candidate is in four areas:

  1. Extrovert or Introvert
  2. Sensing or Intuition
  3. Thinking or Feeling
  4. Judging or Perceiving

There are a total of 16 possible personality types and each one works best in a different workplace role.

The Caliper Profile

This assessment asks candidates to read a group of statements and decide which one they agree with the most. The results show key personality traits related to skills within the job environment.


HireVue assessments combine video, artificial intelligence, and game-based challenges to rapidly and accurately identify the best candidates.

Dynamics ATS

Dynamics ATS is an HR recruitment and applicant tracking application powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Azure. This system helps you quickly locate talent, attract candidates, improve candidate experiences, and make better hiring decisions.


When it comes to hiring people for vacant positions within your organization, relying on qualifications alone will mean you are probably overlooking the most suitable person for the job. Skills can be taught, but you can’t change someone’s personality, character and cultural fit.

As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos once said, “We’ve actually passed on a lot of smart, talented people that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line but if they’re not good for our culture then we won’t hire them for that reason alone.”

So while qualifications are necessary in many roles, those should be the starting point of a much more detailed analysis of a candidates suitability for a position.

Feedback and comments are always welcome. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me at patrick.viernes@amaxra.com You can also connect with me via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/patrick-viernes.

about the author

Patrick Viernes

Patrick Viernes is Amaxra’s Resourcing Director. He has responsibilities for revenue growth and delivering the highest level of value to clients and consultants. Patrick worked in Microsoft for 12 years, leading Field Engagement for Worldwide Public Sector. He developed a community of leaders serving Government, Health, Education customers from over 70 countries.

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