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You are about to hire a new employee …

By on 03/02/2017

When you, as the hiring manager, possibly together with your HR colleague, have reviewed all the resume’s and cover letters, have held meetings, taken references and maybe got the final candidates to take a personality or professional skills test, you need to decide whom you want to employ?

It is in this situation that most managers choose based on a gut feeling!

It may seem provocative to write this, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Yes, you’ve gone through all the above, so why do I then write that it’s a subjective gut feeling choice? The following is food for thought and reflection.


  • Did you spent time specifically identifying, based on documentable successful experience, which essential evaluation criteria should be included in the job description or did you use a previous job advert or a general description?
  • When you posted the job position were you very clear which areas of the job position’s description were more important in relation to others, delivering priority and sequence to find the best candidate?
  • Which areas did you choose subjectively as essential in sorting of the applications received and are you clear about why? It’s objective easy to see, for example, if job experience and educational requirements are met, but what about everything that’s not straight forward?
  • How have you evaluated and selected on areas such as personal chemistry, team match, style of leadership, personal integrity?
  • How important have the various evaluation areas been compared to each other? Is there structure?
  • How do you choose with your subjective gut feeling – is there a conscious priority structure behind your choice?
  • How do you document your choices, so you can learn from them?
  • How do you document your candidate choices objectively, so that others can see why you chose who you did?
  • Can you objectively explain to the other two candidates, if there were three in the final round, why it wasn’t them you selected?


NOTE! Good feedback is good for candidates, you and your organization. It may be that in a few months you might want to hire one of them and they need to remember you and your organization positively, otherwise there is a risk that this time they deselect you and your organization. (I always think that a “sales person” today can be a “customer” tomorrow or your boss in 2 years! Maybe you can use this way of thinking towards your job candidates, you’ve been in the situation yourself at some point in time). We talk a lot about the value of good customer experiences and service in order to optimize and maintain customer value over time, the reason for this is that we, as people, appreciate being viewed as just that, an individual who feels, thinks and remembers and of course, it also applies in a job search or employee situation.

Okay, now you’ve made your choice and the candidate has started their employment and you, as a manager, are responsible to follow-up on this new employee or manager and make sure that everything is going as expected.

In the Nordic countries, we typically have a 3-month trial period in the employment contract and most managers just have a “chat” with their HR colleague after 2½ months. Where is your structured documentation of this trial employment process? Is it your subjective notes in your HR system, perhaps in the part that describes the KPI and performance? What real value and options for evaluation does it give you?

Your organization may have an HR system that helps to create and archive candidate applications, their name, address and contact information, and where you can send and store e-mails or letters, test results, reference details and your personal notes in connection with the recruitment of a new employee or manager, and this system is perhaps part of an HR system that contains all the things that are necessary for the normal human organizational operation, whether it is sickness absence, pay, holidays, staff performance appraisals/manager performance appraisals, successor/career plans, insurance, etc.

What system do you have available that will provide you with the answers to the above in a selection situation and the ability to compare your original selection and evaluation criteria from the candidate selection with the employee/manager you chose to employ, and compare this with your experiences after the first month of employment, 2½ months and 9 months, so you can clearly see where things are going well or as expected, and where there is a need for focus and positive development and efforts in order for it to be optimal or if the collaboration is to continue, for example, by using a structured selection and evaluation model?

There are many questions in the above and therefore I will challenge you, because in all the meetings I’ve had until now, all the people managers and HR employees have said that they do not have a standard structure or system to provide answers to this last and most important piece of a recruitment process nor a simple and easily surveyed structure to follow up! How and why do you choose as you do and how do you follow-up, so that it provides an overview and coherent meaning and value for you as a people manager?

Is what you do today good enough? Experience and learning is an ongoing process we are never finished with, so the rhetorical answer is, of course, that we can always improve and be better.

If I can offer you a standard process and structure that is easy to use and that within this framework gives you individual options of choice and deselection options, priorities and learning, would you then accept this offer?