Prioritizing During the Interview Process Sets Candidates Up for Success

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to set candidates up for success in their first year in a new role? There actually is a way to do just that—utilizing a performance profile during the vetting process.

The profile includes a series of questions that candidates must answer that is included when the candidate is referred to the client, according to Mark Waschek, President, Ag1Source. The questions are formulated in meetings with the client during the search to set clear objectives on the most important things that a candidate needs to accomplish during their first year on the job.

“The performance profile goes beyond a resume,” Waschek says. “A resume usually doesn’t explain how you accomplished what’s listed on there, and the purpose of the profile is to dig into how you accomplished tasks to determine if that matches how the client wants things done.”

For example, if a manager is being hired who doesn’t have experience with hiring others to join the team, that may be OK if things are going well on the team and no one is planning to leave for two years. Being able to hire might not be considered a must-have skill in that case, because the candidate would have time to acquire training on that skill.

“The performance profile allows the client to prioritize the most important things and for us to identify people who can step into the role and succeed from day one,” Waschek says. “Nobody is perfect and a 100% exactly right as a hire, but if a candidate only has two out of three things the client is looking for, then at least they know that ahead of time and have agreed to help the candidate accomplish whatever experience is missing.”

Waschek says that he sees this happen frequently in the job interview process: companies want to keep the experience positive for candidates, and certain aspects of the job may not come up in conversation. A candidate might have always led a successful team, so they may not have experience handling low performers or firing team members, so this skill set gets overlooked during the interview process.

“Knowing that in advance may change the candidate’s development or incentive plan,” Waschek says. “If it was addressed during the hiring process, then it becomes a known entity.”

The performance profile may seem like a simple approach on the surface, but its power is incredible, setting the direction for who recruiters move forward with, what they screen for, and the expectations and goals for that role.

Another example Waschek gives is when he’s searching for leadership roles for agricultural cooperatives. Many ag coops require CEOs to have a previous management role in the cooperative system, because coops operate differently than regular businesses.

“The performance profile helps us outline in black and white what we’re looking for,” Waschek says. “Those questions become the deal breakers in the process.”

Another benefit of the performance profile is for the company that’s hiring. The new employee’s manager no longer has to worry about the employee’s annual review, because the performance profile has outlined their objectives ahead of time.

“Usually, employees don’t know what they’re being measured on,” Waschek says. “The performance profile eliminates that worry.”

In addition, Waschek points out that candidates’ answers can help guide conversations during the interview process, while also adding a level of comfort to the client making the decision. If the client really likes how a candidate handled a situation, then that candidate becomes the clear leader in the process.

“It puts the hiring manager at ease that you did indeed hire the right person,” he says.