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Below Par: Good in Golf, Bad for Hiring

7 ironSeveral years back I participated in a charity golf tournament that had a real twist. The only golf club allowed — for driving, fairways, short range, sand traps, or even putting — was a 7-iron. Now I’m not a great golfer, I’m not even a good golfer; but can you imagine how my score compared to my previous experiences on that same course when I used a full compliment of clubs?

Yes. It was dismal. I scored a dreadful 149 when I normally scored in the mid 90’s (I told you I wasn’t any good).

Golf clubs are the tools of the trade but even in the capable hands of the most skilled golf professional, a single club used over 18 holes guarantees a poorer score than normal.

I’ve also seen recreational golfers carry just three clubs on a course, usually a 3-wood, a 5-iron, and putter. They don’t want to be bogged down with a golf bag (and they’re too cheap to rent a golf cart). How well do you think THEY do? Better than my 7-iron? Sure. As good as they could’ve done with a full bag of clubs? Not a chance.

A full set of clubs in the right hands allows a golfer to pinpoint their shots much more accurately. It allows long sweeping power shots, delicate shots around the greens, and precision putting to put the golf ball in the cup. How many clubs do professional golfers have in their bag? As many as the rules will allow.

More clubs means more opportunities for success.

The same holds true for your hiring

Use one club or process, or even just a couple, and your chances for a successful hire are lower than if you use a powerful suite of evaluation and assessment tools, reference checks, background checks, and interviews. Unfortunately, too many people rely on their personal intuition, a loosely structured interview, more intuition, and whether or not the job candidate had the proper education from the right school … and then more intuition (another word for intuition is bias). They also give an over-abundance of credence to “experience” which may or may not be accurately represented or even valid for the open position. During the interview process, “impression management” is the successful job candidate’s most used skill.

Did a “dream” candidate just walk in the door?

Speaking of skills, suppose you as a small to mid-size business owner had the opportunity to hire a superstar candidate from MegaCorp, Inc. (the big boys you compete against). Just imagine the insights this candidate could bring, the business they could garner, the skills they could muster to grow your company. It could be the big break your firm needs, right?

Ironically, this situation happens quite frequently. The issue is that small to mid-size business owners don’t have a massive amount of brand recognition and those coming to work for them from businesses that do have that brand recognition, capital, structure, and support mechanisms may have succeeded only because of those advantages. Their “skills” were not there, only their ability to get things done within the MegaCorp, Inc. framework. The brand carried them more than they carried the brand.

That’s why more and more small to mid-size businesses are realizing the value of a job matching system, a system that helps attract top talent, develops them to the fullest, and keeps them longer; a comprehensive system that uses subject matter experts to tell you exactly which skills, behaviors, motivators, and competencies are needed for successful performance. The story of the job’s needs is then overlaid with a job candidate’s skills, behaviors, motivators, and competencies to show you where gaps exist. From there, you or your hiring manager can more readily determine whether the gaps are either perfectly fine, acceptable with a well-defined coaching and development plan, or  just too wide to be workable.

Hire and Hope?

Do all the interviews you want. Candidates are better prepared than ever for your interview questions (even the weird ones). Check all the references you want. HR people at the previous job are too concerned with legal repercussions to tell the truth on a reference check and they regularly instruct supervisors to only give out hire dates. Then, when someone comes to your company as a job candidate you’ll hear all sorts of great things. They may HAVE been successful at MegaCorp, Inc., but there’s no way to know with any certainty if they’ll be successful with YOU. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and you’re probably tired of the “hire and hope” mentality. What you don’t know, can have devastating effects on your small to mid-size company long term.

What to do?

  • Structure your interviews. Ask the same questions of each candidate so you can accurately compare answers and candidates. Go ahead and ask probing questions based on their answers but use the same framework for each interview (this also insures EEOC compliance).
  • Have group interviews. Bring in several people (or conference call) who already do the job. Let them ask a few real world questions.
  • Hire the best candidate on a temporary or contract basis to see how well they fit. This “practice” scenario is becoming more popular. A 30, 60, or 90 day contract gives employers and applicants a chance to try each other out.
  • Above all, incorporate a validated job matching system into your hiring process that determines the soft skills, hard competencies, behavioral tendencies, and motivators needed for high performance and low employee stress.

What Does Success Look Like?

Successful companies can easily fill in the blanks:

“In our organization, a person doing the job of [X] behaves  like _______, they’re motivated by _______ & _______; their skills are _______, _______, & _______. They see the world as _______ and themselves as _______.”

How many people who know this job very, VERY well would agree on the descriptors in each of those blanks? That’s still another advantage of our Job Matching System. It not only identifies the behaviors and skills needed but also brings all parties involved to a consensus on what’s required for success.


If you’d like to know more about our comprehensive solutions and how we’re helping companies hire better than PAR employees, contact us and let us know how to help.

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job matching solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at or at 870-761-7881.

7-Iron image by Lucia Sanches via
Golf course image by cityofroundrock via

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