Are you asking the right questions before hiring for a new role?
Hiring should always be strategically aligned. You should only hire for a role because it supports your company’s mission and its strategy.
My personal view on hiring is similar to my view of sales. While some people laud the success of closing a deal and signing a contract, real success comes when that customer renews. By viewing the process as being about relationships rather than transactions, you align yourself to the success of your customer — and to the business you’re selling for.
Recruiting is no different. Success comes only after the people you hire deliver on the goals set forth for them. And when that person sticks around for the long haul, especially when that person is talented and has access to countless opportunities elsewhere.
An easy way to ensure you hire the right talent is to use a scorecard. Scorecards take personal biases out of the hiring process and help you to thoroughly evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for the job. They’re also great tools for managing alignment between a role and company/department strategy.
If you want to see other ways scorecards can be used, you should check out ”Who: The A Method for Hiring” by Geoff Smart.
As Smart points out in his book, the best scorecards are an action plan for the new hire. They help to specify what success looks like for a new hire.
We think that scorecards can help improve alignment between strategy, a role, and a new hire.
We’ve created our own scorecard here at Minsilo, based on our expertise with organizational and strategic alignment. It is partly inspired by the Business Model Canvas, which is an easy way to visualize your company’s business model.
Like Geoff Smart’s scorecards, the Aligned Hiring Scorecard is designed to be an action plan. We highly recommend sharing the scorecard with a new hire during the onboarding process — this is a great tool for managers to track performance and set up the person for success.
The Aligned Hiring Scorecard is broken into two sections.
The top half is all about the alignment between the business and the role. After filling out this section, you should be able to decide whether to proceed with hiring for this role.
The bottom half focuses on the candidate. It looks at whether a candidate is the right fit for a role. You should be able to make a yes-or-no decision whether this candidate is the right fit.
Let’s now take a look at each section.
Before starting the search for talent, you should evaluate whether the role makes sense to have in the first place. Fill out each section thoroughly. Do not skip any section.
Once you’ve filled out each section, step back and ask yourself: “does it make sense to proceed based on what we now know?”
If it does not, no problem.
You may need to revise one part of the scorecard. Perhaps your incentives are unrealistic. Or your financial timeline just doesn’t make sense.
If revising doesn’t work — say there isn’t a clear need — then you may want to shelve this hire for now.
The first step to a successful aligned hire is to ask yourself: “why am I hiring for this role?”
There is no right answer to this question, but it’s important to have a reason. Your reason may be one of the common reasons for hiring. Or it may be a different reason entirely.
Once you understand the need for the role, you should evaluate whether the role is strategically aligned.
More specifically, you should ask yourself: “how does this role support our business strategy?”
You should list out one or more reasons how it supports the strategy.
Get specific about what you expect someone to accomplish after being hired.
What goals do you have for that person?
What does success look like? How will you know that the person is successful?
Setting and aligning goals to a role before hiring is an easy way to check that your hire is aligned to your business. It helps you ensure that a hire you make now will immediately start producing results.
It will also help a new hire understand what is expected of them.
Be realistic in the goals that you may have for this person once they’re hired: some goals (like sales targets) are timeless, while others (like specific project milestones) may be time-dependent. For some roles, the process of hiring a new person can take a matter of months.
Metrics often get confused with goals, but they are different. Goals tell us what the future looks like. Metrics tell us how to measure where we are currently.
The point of establishing clear metrics for a role is to reduce ambiguity on how a person in this role will be measured.
You should have a clear idea of what KPIs this person will be driving and you’ll want to be able to communicate it to them during the onboarding process.
This exercise will also help you pick tools that facilitate this measurement, especially for new roles.
You must offer something of value to get people to come to work for you.
The most obvious example is salary. For many people, this is also the most important.
Can you actually afford to hire this person? How long can you keep this person employed without seeking out more funding or more budget?
You may also find that you can offer intangible value to someone. For example, someone may decide to work in this role because it opens them up to new career opportunities or growth.
They may also work for your company because you’re part of a prestigious accelerator program and they want to join your startup ecosystem.
Regardless of the personal reason why someone would join you, it’s important to understand what you can and are willing to offer to a person in this role.
Before someone can be truly a valuable member of a team, you’ll need to invest resources into getting them set up for success. These investments typically fall into one of the 3 T’s:
Time includes onboarding, getting set up for their job (like a programmer setting up their computer), and time they spend learning about the organization.
Training is job-specific learning. Some jobs have massive skills gaps that require a substantial amount of learning (such as utility workers), while others require someone to just learn the tools that they’ll be using for their job.
Tools include everything someone uses to get their job done, that the company pays for. Typically this includes a computer, but may also include a cell phone or a company vehicle.
There may also be minor expenses like additional payroll and compliance costs. These tend to be minimal but can vary widely depending on the role and the business’s circumstances.
The financial section looks at the expected financial outcomes of hiring for this role. In general, you should only hire for a role that has a positive return on investment.
In order to calculate your return on investment, you’ll need to identify a few things.
First, sum up the cost of incentives and investments. Come up with a total that is based on the expected tenure of this hire.
Next, assess what the expected increase in revenue will be from hiring for this role. This is certainly easier in roles that have revenue responsibility, like sales, but it can be calculated on projects as well. Regardless of the method, estimate the amount that this role will contribute to your revenue.
Be sure to also figure in intangible benefits of hiring this role: morale, brand reputation, and trust are all factors that should be quantified.
Some roles will inherently be “cost-centers” and should be framed as reducing risk or avoiding losses. Just because a role doesn’t create value doesn’t mean that it is not worth hiring for, as long as it makes sense to be a cost center (e.g. don’t avoid hiring an accountant because paying your taxes doesn’t increase revenue, because not doing so is far more expensive).
Once you’ve compiled all of these values, calculate your return on investment.
Does this role make sense to hire for given what we’ll have to spend on it?
The bottom half of the scorecard focuses on the person that you’re hiring.
You want to make sure you’re picking the right candidate for the job, and this goes beyond just looking for culture and skills fit.
Complete this section during and after the interview process.
Write down each of your company’s core values. Write down your mission.
Based on what the person is telling you, do they align with your company’s values? Do they believe in your mission?
Ideally, write down 2-3 examples of where they’re aligned.
And be sure to also take note of examples where they’re not aligned with your company’s values.
Candidates that do not align with your company’s mission and values are a risk to your whole team. At best, they don’t stick around for long. And at worst, they’re constantly casting doubt on what your business stands for and challenging every decision leadership makes.
Can you offer this candidate what they’re looking for?
In the top section of the scorecard, you identified the incentives that you’re able to offer. You wrote down the salary range, benefits, and intangible benefits that you can offer (like networking opportunities and growth).
Now, you need to check that the candidate’s needs are met by what you can offer. It might help to play detective, searching for what the person truly is looking for.
Sometimes it is as simple as just getting a job that pays enough so they can pay their bills. Other people have greater aspirations — and expectations — from their work.
There is no wrong answer, but it has to match what you’re looking for.
Misalignment around incentives is a key driver of employee turnover. OfficeTeam (a Robert Half company) found that 44% of employees would leave for more money, while 12% would leave for a company with a “higher purpose / stronger mission.” Another 12% would leave because they feel “bored/unchallenged at work.”
Many incentives are unrelated to money. Two common reasons include a “lack of trust and autonomy” and “not being appreciated and recognized.” Fortunately, many of these incentives can be addressed through low-cost changes in management style and work culture.
I trust that you already know how to evaluate whether someone is qualified to do the job, so I won’t go into too much detail here. You may want to combine this section with another scorecard for evaluating skills.
But I do suggest looking inward at the people that you already have and asking: “does this really warrant an outside hire or do we already have someone who is underutilized that can learn the skills needed quickly?” If the answer is yes — and the person is willing to take on that new responsibility — then it can be advantageous to instead reskill an existing employee, rather than recruiting someone new.
You should regularly review your scorecard to make sure it makes sense given your strategic and business needs.
If something doesn’t make sense, don’t ignore it. The purpose of creating a scorecard is to make sure all of the pieces fit together. If some of the pieces do not fit, then your hiring process is misaligned.
We recommend reviewing it at least:
Review should only take a few minutes — it just involves reading it over and confirming the information is still true and makes sense. Scorecards get better the more you use them.
Minsilo helps HR leaders align their whole organization around the things that matter most. Connect your employees to your mission. Share the strategic vision. Align the work your people do to the big picture.
Minsilo makes it simple to empower your people to do great work. You can learn more about Minsilo helps leaders manage alignment directly here.