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Where to Compromise When Making Hiring Decisions.


Meredith Stack


With every open job requisition, we all want to make the "perfect" hire, but that's not realistic. No one is perfect, and all new hires come with a degree of compromise.

The challenge is making the right compromises. Any hiring manager will tell you that the wrong compromise has far-reaching consequences.

And data is the key to making educated compromises.

Collect holistic candidate data.

Experience is often used as a way for recruiters and hiring managers to determine whether or not someone has the required skills. It’s also a place that people often refuse to compromise—“We must have someone who has three years of experience!”

When it comes to experience and background, the idea is that if someone has done the job before, or they have the required education level, they must know what they’re doing.

In a perfect world, that idea is valid. If someone has performed a job in the past, it's more likely they'll know how to do it again. But how do you really know that candidates have what it takes?

When applying for a job, candidates can include experience on their resume and application that matches job requirements. By using key terms and highlighting the skills mentioned in the posting, a candidate may appear qualified enough to be called in for an interview.

But then after the interview, questions among the hiring team may arise. For example, one position might yield questions about three different candidates:

  • Candidate A seems like a great hire on paper, but they weren’t impressive during the interview.
  • Candidate B has the experience, but they also require a salary that’s outside the budget.
  • Candidate C brings an outstanding GPA and demonstrates an eagerness to learn, but they don’t have the required three years of experience.

Unless you have other data to assess a candidate’s fit for a given role, it’s difficult to determine the right compromises.

Pre-hire assessment data rounds out the candidate profile.

The data that you need can also be thought of as the job requirements. Requirements include years of experience, candidate credentials and, background, technical skills, as well as soft skills. So many factors beyond experience influence people’s ability to achieve business goals. And the most important factors vary from job to job.

At Berke, we help organizations identify and quantify the soft skills and cognitive traits that are required to succeed for each position. We create hiring profiles that outline high, medium, and low impact traits, so it is easier to prioritize what requirements are worth comprising and which requirements are mandatory.

For example, take the questions that came up above. If those candidates complete a pre-hire assessment, you now have relevant data in hand:

  • In spite of years of experience, Candidate A scores low in assertiveness and logical problem solving, both of which are vital talents and personality traits for someone in a sales role.
  • Candidate B scores well for the high impact traits but remains outside the budget for salary requirements.
  • Finally, Candidate C also scores well for high impact traits, as well as on medium impact traits, such as responsiveness, which the hiring manager knows would benefit the team.

In this scenario, one may conclude that it’s worth compromising on experience because the person with the ideal experience is out of their salary range, and the candidate with the least amount of experience possesses the right mix of skills and traits to succeed at the right price.

Pre-hire assessment data enables teams to make informed hiring compromises, which in turn makes for a better quality of hire.

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