Talent Talk: To Hire A-Players, You Need a Job Scorecard

Doing this one thing, even if you make no other improvements to the hiring process, will quickly yield noticeable results.

Last week we discussed the true cost of a mis-hire. This week we begin to look at key strategies for avoiding that and moving toward the hiring of A-players.

Believe it or not, the biggest mistake I see many companies make in hiring is not being clear on who they need. A traditional job description, no matter how well-written, does not get to the heart of who the person you need is. In their book Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street suggest creating a job scorecard for each position. I believe this is a great tool, but however you get there and whatever you call it, you must address the following:

  • The mission of the role — why does it exist?
  • The competencies that you must have. These include cultural values and are critical to defining the DNA of the candidate you are seeking.
  • The experience and technical knowledge needed to excel in the position.
  • The KPIs and outcomes for this person in the first 30 and 90 days, and the first year.

Doing this one thing, even if you make no improvements to other parts of the hiring process, will quickly yield noticeable results. It will also go a long way toward achieving one other thing you must have — ensuring that everyone on the hiring team is on the same page.

How would you know if everyone on the hiring team is not in agreement on who it is you are trying to hire? One interviewer will love candidate A, but another interviewer will be lukewarm because of experience; yet another will say, “not a cultural fit.” This will be repeated several times, with the interviewers taking turns being the one who loves a candidate.

The other beautiful part of the job scorecard is that it spells out the specific results this person is expected to achieve. This helps maintain a focus on the mission of the role, which is why you are hiring in the first place.

Once you have this step completed, you are ready to begin sourcing potential candidates — the subject of next week’s Talent Talk.

Image: Worawut/Adobe Stock

About the Author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at

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