Successful hiring, in any company, is one of the most difficult tasks in which to achieve repeatable success.  From unexpected outbursts to terminal tardiness to woeful incompetence, every company has a hiring horror story regarding employees who interviewedSlow Down strong but performed poorly.

Perhaps a subtle, but more dangerous occurrence is the all-too-common hire who performs their job in the gray twilight of mediocrity.  They never rise to the occasion and they never catastrophically fail.  They interviewed well but now simply perform their role in a nondescript manner within the company.  Amass too many of these employees and your company will be overwhelmed with mediocrity…or worse.  How do you identify candidates who have unseen natural capacities that will elevate them to incredible achievements?

The answer is aptitudes.  Aptitude is defined as a natural ability, talent or aptness.  Every salesperson has a different level of natural ability.  Matching the right abilities to the requirements of the job provides the best opportunity for superior performance.

An example:  Imagine two cars asked to go 90mph down the freeway.  One car is straight off the NASCAR track and the other is a 1972 Ford Pinto.  Both cars can reach 90mph and, assuming they are not ticketed, can maintain that speed for some duration.  However, the Pinto is redlining and over time cannot maintain that pace.  In a short time, the Pinto’s engine will break down from the stress.  Meanwhile, the NASCAR stock car is effortlessly gliding down the road and can easily maintain that speed for a long duration.  The same analogy applies to employees.  The employee with the right aptitudes for the position will be able to perform at a high level without red-lining their abilities.

So how do you measure aptitudes and, more importantly, find the right aptitudes for the position?  The first step is to identify the key performance indicators for the position.  Key performance indicators are the critical goals and major business successes the job is accountable for producing.  These key performance indicators become the reference point to which all future candidates are measured.  After this activity, every step in your hiring process will become increasingly more refined and focused.

The second step is to use the key performance indicators as the reference for establishing a benchmark of the job.  The simplest of questions to begin with is; why does this job exist?  What aptitudes are non-negotiable, mission-critical abilities that lead to success?  Conversely, what aptitudes are not needed?  In fact, some well developed aptitudes may actually be detrimental to success in the role.  Using the key performance indicators to define the job leads to the last step.

The final step is to objectively assess all screened candidates against the newly formed benchmark.  An unbiased, fully validated aptitude assessment will reveal the candidate’s natural abilities.  These abilities are difficult to detect through phone screens and interviews.  Using objective assessments will provide a detailed analysis of the candidate’s “fit” to the position.

The greatest payoff for matching aptitudes to the job occurs after the newly hired employee quickly hits their stride in the role.  These employees are the ones that bring a smile to their manager’s face.  They have an innate ability to make the right decisions, leverage the best approach and achieve the most success.  Over time, ongoing training, relevant experience and consistent management allow this employee to further develop these aptitudes into highly effective skills for their role.

They will become superstars.