Do You Hire for Comfort Instead of Skills?

Are you wondering how to make a good hire? Hiring for culture fit is something Amtec highly advocates. You should feel comfortable with the person you’re hiring, which is why we always learn about a company’s culture before writing a job posting. After all, nothing’s worse than having a fun-loving, family environment and then mistakenly hiring a total misfit who never gets the joke and doesn’t want to belong…or is there? Do you hire for comfort instead of skills and sometimes make a hiring mistake you’ll regret? Do you choose the candidate who makes you feel comfortable instead of hiring someone for the skills they’ll need to get the job done right?

As it turns out, humans are naturally prone to making poor hiring decisions because “we’re pretty hard-wired to be social and to want to make human connections”! While we should be looking at diagnostic information such as candidates’ quantitative skills, credentials, and personal integrity, suggests Harvard Decision Science Laboratory (HDSL), we often get distracted by nondiagnostic information such as what club they belong to, their style of dress, or the fact that they are left-handed. At Amtec, we call that nondiagnostic information “going with your gut feeling.” The candidate who attended your alma mater or enjoys the same sports team as you just seems like a more natural fit than the one who has seemingly nothing in common with you.

So what’s wrong with a natural fit? Nothing–if the candidate is actually qualified to perform the responsibilities of the job. But chances are, using your intuition alone is not how to make a good hire. Selecting the candidate with whom you feel most comfortable may cause you to miss out on the best qualified candidate, even if that person may be a little awkward or make less of a connection with you. Going with your gut could cause you to make a hiring mistake that might cost you more than you know.

To prevent this from happening, says HDSL, you’ll want to “make sure your interviews all follow the same basic structure and are based on a list of questions designed to get a better sense of the specific skills you know are going to be critical to success in the job.” (When you work with us, we provide you with a behavioral interview guide to ensure that you ask the same probing questions of all candidates.)

That being said, Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide to Hiring, has a further caution for employers:

Filling jobs with those who are the most skilled is totally different than hiring the strongest person possible. The former is largely a box-checking exercise with the compensation determined by supply and demand. The latter involves spending more time with fewer candidates focusing on their past performance, upside potential and intrinsic motivation to actually do the work that needs to be done. When people are hired this way there’s an instant improvement in quality of hire, an increase in job satisfaction and a huge reduction in unnecessary turnover.

Having been a recruitment agency since 1959, we’ve found that a really good way to structure your interviews is to list the competencies that the person in your open position will need. Then you can print out a behavioral interview guide and ask every candidate the same questions, ensuring both legality and an in-depth understanding of what each candidate can really bring to the table.

Now you have a better idea of how to make a good hire. Use these tips and tools to restructure your interview process. Going with your gut may win you a friend, but using behavioral interview questions to measure skills and past performance will get you the employees you need to improve your bottom line.

Do you need help acquiring top contract or direct hire professionals? Let Amtec find you the best candidates, set you up to successfully interview them, and assist with offer negotiations, reference checks, and background checks. Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to start your search.

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