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Hiring Strategies for Success


Every step in the hiring process should work as a filter to determine objectively whether or not an individual has the attitude, competencies, and experience to fill the role. How you feel about the role, front of the house or expert, should not limit you from setting a high bar to fulfill.

Our roles as managers and leaders is to develop and nurture our replacement, but environment can only go so far based on the nature of the individual who enters your organization. And without objectively gauging the nature of the individual you're looking to hire, you are liable to make choices based on individuals that you naturally gravitate to, which is generally people who act similarly to us. All too often, though, if someone acts like us, it does not mean they have the same level of competencies that we have.

In the rush to fill the gap of a lost employee, businesses can find themselves looking actively for a warm body as opposed to a qualified candidate. Both the individual looking for the job and the manager knows this and it sets the tone for the level of expectations that are held for the relationship.

Absolute objectivity is impossible, but we can take actions to level the playing field against our subconscious biases by being specific and working through a system.


Most successful hires have passed through a series of gates that illustrate competence, qualification, and drive. Each success bolsters our belief in the prospective employee and their belief in themselves. By mutually starting the relationship on a process of validation our process brings individuals in on their best foot for us to onboard successfully.

The first filter is the resume with specific instructions. Depending on the level of responsibility of the job this step may vary. But, resumes tell us a lot about an individual and instructions for specific information or additions demonstrate competence in basic form and function.

As you know, there are some resumes that you aren't sure about, but there are a lot of resumes that you say no to. By adding instructions into the job posting we set up an additional parameter in the resume step to filter out candidates.

First Phone Interview

This interview must start with a strong up-front contract on duration and the amount of questions asked. If you are calling for an interview that will take 10-15 minutes and consists of 5 questions, the individual you're calling should be able to assess somewhere between 3 minutes per question and be focused enough to make it through the questions.

For us, we have 5 specifically worded questions, depending on who we're working with and we give points on a scale of 1-10 to the answers to these questions. If the candidate scores above a 7 then they are ushered into the second phase of the process. If they score less they are disqualified.

Devine Inventory Assessment

A score of 7 or higher receives an invitation to take the Devine Inventory assessment which we find a valuable tool that defines exactly what competencies a person brings to the table and what places of improvement are possible to take a good candidate to a next level employee. No matter the role, hourly or salary, the Devine Inventory has a profile match that grades the candidates quality match against the job on a scale of 0-100 where 50 represents the average respondent.

Unless we see a 70 or higher, we disqualify the candidate. Overall, until this point, each candidate has taken between 15-20 minutes if they've received the first phone interview.

After the Devine Inventory we bring the candidate into our world to go through three in-person interviews over the course of an hour. These interviews typically include their direct manager, their manager's manager, and someone from outside of the department they will work in. These may happen at the same time, or they may be broken into different time slots, especially if we act as the person outside the department, then we reserve the right to the first no in order to save our clients time and money.

All in all, hiring requires a specific process. If you don't have a process in place then the initial establishment of a process will not be objective. If you choose to follow a process and break your own rules, you will teach yourself the lesson you already know: red flags are never valuable in retrospect. A red flag not heeded is a lesson you decided to learn (and typically learn again).

I'd encourage you to assess your company's hiring process and determine if there are any ways that we can spend more time upfront in order to save more time in the long run. If you aren't motivated, how much did the last failed hire cost you?

If you like some of these ideas and want to toy with how they'd work in your world, reach out to me at

Thank you and have a great week!

Jim Stephens

Jim Stephens

President of Crossroads Business Development Inc.