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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

How to hire for a hard-to-fill position

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

For many of our clients, hiring is constantly top-of-mind. As their organizations grow, the need to fill new roles increases, too. Yet you’d be surprised how many hires don’t work out.

In the 2020 State of Talent Optimization Report, we found that only 49% of last year’s hires were considered good hires. When trying to fill a position, it’s essentially a coin flip whether or not you’ll be satisfied with the final choice!

When hiring for hard-to-fill positions, how do you get the right talent in the right seats? How do you ensure you don’t leave things to chance?

The answer has nothing to do with blind luck. But it does have everything to do with probability—and data.

Take a scientific approach to hiring.

One of the most common pain points we hear from new clients is the need for stronger hiring tools. Before using PI, many clients relied on gut instincts to inform their hiring decisions.

That’s not just a trend with our customers—it’s a problem most organizations face. Here’s another stat from the State of Talent Optimization Report: Only 47% of companies have tools that accurately evaluate whether they have the right people in the right roles. 41% simply rely on gut feel, and 12% don’t know at all.

When so many organizations lack the right tools, it’s easy to imagine why bad hires are so prevalent. Businesses need to equip leaders and hiring managers with the proper information to make hiring decisions. That way, you increase the likelihood a candidate will be a good fit.

With PI, there’s a simple, data-driven way to fill this need. Using the talent optimization framework, you can leverage insight based on people data to hire top talent and build high-performing teams. And our platform does most of the heavy lifting for you.

How to hire for a hard-to-fill position

Hire the whole candidate.

When evaluating a candidate’s fit for a job role, hiring managers are quick to look at what’s most visible (i.e., the resume). This typically includes the education, skills, and work experience someone brings to the job.

While those are valid data points, they don’t provide a comprehensive look at the whole candidate. A critical step most organizations miss is to define the behavioral requirements of a role and leverage that data to better understand a candidate’s job, manager, team, and cultural fit. Companies also neglect to assess cognitive ability—another powerful predictor of job performance.

You might ask how important these two factors really are to making smart hires. According to the same talent optimization survey, 61% of executives said the main reason employees are terminated is either lack of behavioral fit or lack of cognitive ability needed for the job.

Organizational success hinges on the ability to hire based on all possible data points—not just a handful. Here’s how PI can help you do so.

Define the right requirements with PI tools.

It’s important that the hiring team agrees on the requirements of the job in question. If not, they’ll struggle to match the right candidate to the open role. That’s why it’s vital to define and communicate these requirements.

The PI software makes this process easy. Users start by sending a PI Job Assessment™ to key stakeholders—such as the hiring manager and any top performers in the role. The Job Assessment has respondents identify the various requirements needed to succeed in the position.

The software takes the results of the Job Assessment and creates what’s known as a PI Job Target™. The Job Target lets you visualize the specific behavioral and cognitive requirements for the role. Users can then tweak these requirements to their liking. You can view a sample Job Target below:

Here are some questions to keep in mind as you build a Job Target:

  • What are the most important and frequent activities for this role?

  • What behavioral style and temperament is most naturally suited to do this type of work?

  • How quickly will the successful individual need to learn new information and skills?

  • How flexible and adaptable will the person need to be in this role?

  • What specific knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed?

With the PI Job Target, users can collectively pinpoint the behavioral drives and cognitive ability candidates need to succeed. In doing so, you mitigate risk when hiring—and boost your odds of finding the right candidate.

Make every hire a great one.

By taking a more holistic approach to hiring, you increase the likelihood of finding the next great fit for your organization. Those you hire will be naturally wired to succeed in their roles. This can lead to greater job satisfaction, improved employee engagement, and greater productivity.

Hire the right person now

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