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The Question You Forgot to Ask BEFORE You Started Hiring

If you’ve been responsible for hiring new employees, especially in senior positions, for any length of time, you’ll already have had this experience.

You know the one…

Square Peg… Round Hole…

Your recruiter spends a month putting together a stellar candidate shortlist. You and two or three other decision-makers spend a couple of days meeting and interviewing the candidates. Every candidate is smart, experienced and skilled.


You and the other stakeholders just can’t agree on a frontrunner.

You like Candidates A and C, but your colleagues, for reasons they can’t quite pinpoint, don’t think they’re quite right. Your colleagues like Candidates B and D, but you’re convinced that these individuals aren’t the right fit and will wind up leaving within six months.

So, you collectively reject the whole shortlist.

And just like that your hiring campaign is back to square one. All the time you spent studying CVs and interviewing is wasted, and the vacancy is STILL unfilled.

You’re frustrated and fed up.

And, trust me on this one…

Your recruiter and the candidates (who can’t figure out why they fell short) aren’t feeling great either.

Here’s where you (and your recruiter) went wrong…

What Do You Want?

Imagine you’re a director of a football club and you have to fill a key position.

You speak to your head scout and ask them to find you a great player that can be obtained for no more than £30M and will cost no more than £25K a week in wages.

Your scout spends a month scouring the market and comes back to you with a comprehensive shortlist of excellent players.

But, to your horror, you discover that they’re all strikers, when what you actually needed was a defender.


That’s information your scout needed to know. And, to be fair, that’s information he should have asked for.

In fact, he also needed to know that you were looking for a defender with the ability to carry the ball, who is willing to fill other midfield and defensive positions when required, and who has the social and leadership skills needed to act as a mentor to some of the younger players.

This is the same mistake that employers and recruiters make over and over.

They focus on the skills and experience needed for the role they’re trying to fill, but they neglect to ask the key question…

What type of behaviours and personality are we looking for?

Before a recruiter sets out to find candidates for you, this is one of the key questions to consider.

And because it’s not always an easy question to answer, a behavioural job survey is critical.

Not only does this give the recruiter the key information they need when compiling their shortlist, it allows you and your fellow decision-makers to be clear on what you’re looking for.

In my experience, it’s not uncommon for decision-makers to complete a job survey and discover that they have quite different views on what is needed. 

Remember the example at the beginning of this article? This is how you get a situation where decision-makers can’t agree but struggle to elucidate why.

It’s because this key question, about behaviours and personality, wasn’t asked and answered FIRST.

Take a Free Job Survey

Whether you have a vacancy to fill now or in a few months, why not take a little time now to arrange a free job survey.

It’s just a simple questionnaire for you and your colleagues to complete, and the results will help you determine, more accurately, what you’re looking for.

And if your results vary, then at least you have valuable information that will allow you to discuss and adjust your expectations.

Take the time to do this NOW, and you’ll save you and your business a lot of wasted time and effort in the future.

To arrange your free job survey, type “job survey” in the comment sections and we’ll arrange to get one sent out to you. 

You can audit your recruitment process online for free and learn more about the perils of the “bad hire” by clicking here.

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