How to hire high achievers

How to hire high achievers

The four types of candidates

Candidates typically fit into one of four categories: 

Category 1: Unsuitable 

These candidates are easy to eliminate in the recruitment process, as they are clearly not suitable for your role.

Category 2: Maybe

These candidates might have the right personality but lack experience - or have the right experience, but not the personality you are looking for. While you could train them or try to make accommodations, there is a higher risk associated with taking these candidates on board.

Category 3: Looks good

These candidates' resumes and experience are of interest. They perform well during their interviews and testing, and their reference checks are superb, so we hire them. However, once they are in the role, we regret our decision.

Category 4: Looks good & are brilliant

Finally, we have candidates who look good and are brilliant. We hire them and they are true high achievers who stay and excel.

When it comes to categorising candidates, the biggest challenge for recruiters is separating the category three candidates from the category fours, as both appear to be high achievers.

If you're looking for a new employee, we would be delighted to tell you about how we recruit so you can establish if we are the right fit for you.

The four types of candidates

Susan Mills

Susan Mills

"This recruitment company won't let you down!

Totally professional and thoroughly organised, have said it before, but breath of fresh air in recruitment.

Thank you for your ongoing support."


How to avoid category three candidates

Category three candidates are the most expensive employees you can hire.

Their overall performance is unsatisfactory and below par however, it is never bad enough to warrant a termination. These candidates have a high opportunity cost, as they will stay with your business for years.

At 11 Recruitment, we create an Assessment Matrix for every job we fill, which functions as our recruitment blueprint. It enables us to distinguish between category three and category four candidates.

In the Assessment Matrix, the selection criteria for a role are listed down the left side, while our recruitment process is listed along the top. All selection criteria are addressed at least once during the recruitment process – with important criteria being addressed multiple times.

Recruitment is all about minimising the risk of hiring the wrong person. If we get three independent observations that all lead to the same conclusion, then we have minimised the risk for that selection criteria. If a candidate has two positive observations and one negative, that does not necessarily mean they are unsuitable for the role however, it does mean the risk is higher for that criteria.

Next time you use a recruitment agency, ask the consultant to detail their process and Assessment Matrix. If they can't show it to you, you have the right to question if you are getting value for money.

How to avoid category three candidates

Christian Madsen - Managing Director at 11 Recruitment
Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

  • Great article. I would have to agree on 3 been the most expensive hire. They often “talk the talk“ but can’t can’t preform and become totally disengage. However if they hang around for years I would then say their superiors would be the most expensive hire for not addressing the issue.

  • Marisa Romeo says:

    Great article!. The matrix would be very useful as a multiple checking tool when recruiting.
    In my experience many recruiters fail to address “organisational fit” within the key selection criteria, this is perhaps why we get more 3’s than 4’s.
    Adding 3 or 4 criteria to identify candidate attitudes, beliefs and motivations I have found helps, along with an honest recount of the role expectations and organisational culture may save us from hiring the expensive employees.

  • Michael ackrell says:

    Totally agree too many times you run checks have a great interview. Then you hire and they are world champions for the probation period. Then they go bad I like the idea of the triple check would be ideal to spend the time to get the right candidate for the job

  • Frank Kennedy says:

    Great article Christian. Spot on with the candidate types and a very good solution provided to find the ideal employee.

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