Ham or Spam: Quality Performance vs.
Poor Performance

by Janet Richardson

Quality managers can hire quality employees by using a simple hiring process. The process is simple and constitutes responsible hiring on the part of the manager. By using a conglomeration of tools, you can discover more about the potential employee than you ever dreamed possible. For the innovative manager, the hiring process includes more than merely giving an applicant an application, looking over a resume', interviewing and then deciding whether or not to hire this person. Any company that wants to succeed must have employees that are a good fit for the position of which they are applying. Otherwise the employee will become dissatisfied and leave or the mismatch will show in performance. Both situations can cost the company money as well as reputation. Following the process for screening and hiring as follows can be very beneficial to the company as well as reduce hiring risk for the manager: interview, assess, follow-up, reference check and drug screening and training. By integrating all these factors into your decision, you will create more effective producers, which will in turn boost your profits.


The first step in the hiring process is to conduct an initial interview. After receiving the application and resume' the decision will be made whether or not the person fits the qualifications for the job. If the resume' fits the job description, then it is up to the manager to find out if the information is true. Statistics reveal that 33% of job applications contain fraudulent information. Sixty percent of college registrars experience attempts to document false credentials. As an employer you are responsible for the actions of your employees. If you hire someone on the bases of his credentials only to find out later that he or she has no or insufficient knowledge of the job duties, it will cost you money. If a disaster strikes, you could be held liable for negligent hiring practices. According to the National Credit Information Network, " The average cost of hiring and training an entry level office worker is more than $7,000.00". If you as a manager do not delve further into the applicant's background, the results could be disastrous.


Not only is it important for the manager to check further into an applicant's background, it is equally important to discover more than just demographic information about the person. A pre-screening assessment can determine the person's mental aptitude as well as personal characteristics. For instance, an assessment can tell the manager whether or not the person is organized, flexible, a team player, has leadership skills, has managerial skills, is assertive, has good numerical perception, is mechanically inclined and much more. It can tell whether the person is honest or ethical, follows the rules or is a non-conformist. It can assess whether or not a person would be a good candidate for a sales position. The assessment can also offer personal development suggestions, offer interview questions for the follow-up interview and offer needs assessment.

The assessment can be a great tool to help the manager decide if the person's basic make-up ( his mental aptitude and personality) would enable him to be the best fit for the job. The assessment should test both mental aptitude and personality. Just because a person has a high mental acuity, does not always mean that the person is socially capable for every position. Some people for example, who are extremely bright, prefer to work alone and would not do well working in crowds. The same holds true for a person who is bright but extremely nervous or anxiety laden. He/she would not do well in a structured setting. The person would need more flexibility and a chance to burn off some of that nervous energy.

A good assessment is essential for responsible hiring practices.

Follow-up Interview

After reviewing the application and resume', and the results of the assessment, one can narrow the field of applicants. The manager can analyze the results of the profile to see if the candidate might possibly be a good fit for the job. After careful consideration, he/she can decide which applicants he wants to bring in for a follow-up interview. From his assessment he can gain further interviewing questions to help him make his determination. He can also gain insight as to what are the weakness and strengths of the candidate. Personal development needs as well as skills needs can be assessed to see if the potential employee is trainable in areas of needs. Any information that is questionable from either the resume', first interview or the assessment, can now be cleared up during this interview. Clarification can help determine whether or not the company wants to spend extra money on further investigation of the applicant.

Background Check & Drug Screening

A thorough background check of a potential employee is an essential and smart move on the part of the employer. Daily News, 5/21/97. " As a school janitor faced charges in the slaying of a Rio Linda girl, Los Angeles school officials conceded Tuesday that perhaps dozens of new employees are on the job now, even without the results of criminal background checks". This is just one example of why an employer can't afford not to spend money on background checks. Negligent hiring refers to the hiring of a person that the employer knows or should have known, possesses some attribute of character of prior conduct that would create undue risk or harm to others in carrying out his or her employment negligence. According to OSHA, 1.5 million simple assaults occur on the job every year. 396,000 aggravated assaults, 51,000 rapes and sexual assaults, 84,000 robberies and nearly 1000 homicides take place every year in the workplace. An employer can't be too careful.

Poor performance caused by the negative effects of alcohol and other drug abuse costs companies millions of dollars a year. According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, some common reasons for drug testing include: To comply with Federal regulations, e.g., the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Energy., to comply with customer or contract requirements, to comply with insurance carrier requirements, to establish grounds for discipline or firing, to reduce the costs of alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace and to improve safety among others. It only makes sense to invest in preventive measures to avoid claims that might cost you and your company millions of dollars.


Once the manager has gathered the information he needs to make a responsible hiring decision, he can take the responsibility one step further and invest in training. Many companies fail to see this aspect of business. A company is only as good as it's employees. Only the best performers are properly trained to do the job. Even if the employee has his PhD., it never hurts to have refresher courses. This shows the employee that you care enough to invest in quality performance.

One can never be too careful when it comes to hiring. The responsibility is a great one, yet in doing so it establishes the great and separates the good performer from the poor performer. Which would you rather have on your team?

Janet Richardson is the President of Personnel Profiles of Oklahoma, LLC., formerly known as JRC & Co. Personnel Profiles of Oklahoma is a Management Consultant Company and is a division of Achievement Tec, providing screening assessments for employers for over 40 years. You can reach Janet Richardson at janetlpc@msn.com or phone 918-250-8764.

Also by Janet Richardson - Five Ways to Develop Your Managerial Style | More like this in The HR Refresher in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2001 by Janet Richardson. All rights reserved.

Current Issue - Archives - CEO Links - News - Conferences - Recommended Reading