HR Mavericks

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Hiring Criteria
Who you hire has significant impacts on the success of your organization. Set yourself up to make the best hires by implementing hiring criteria throughout your process.

What Is Hiring Criteria?

Hiring criteria refers to the standards set by the company for a position. Typically, these are listed in the job description and job posting and include all the qualifications needed to perform the job.

Why Is Defining Hiring Criteria Helpful for HR?

Hiring criteria gives guidance on what kind of person a hiring manager is looking for when hiring. Every job, manager, and department has different standards when it comes to hiring, so hiring criteria helps HR clearly understand what the hiring manager is looking for. Other benefits include:
  • Promotion decisions. When it comes to making decisions on promoting employees or hiring from outside the organization, hiring criteria can be helpful. Many companies choose to promote employees from within, as they want to provide employees with opportunities to grow within the organization and they already know the employee is a good fit culturally. However, a company needs to be careful that this desire doesn't lead to promoting someone for the sake of promoting someone within the organization as opposed to finding someone who is the right fit for the position. Clear hiring criteria makes promotion decisions easier.
  • Clear expectations. Replacing unsatisfactory hires is very expensive, so you want to get it right the first time. Some hiring managers have an idea in mind of what kind of employee they want, but they have a hard time communicating that to HR. The process of agreeing on hiring criteria helps set clear expectations so you can find the right person for the role.
  • Supported hiring decisions. Rather than a hiring manager saying, “Oh, I like this candidate because of the feeling I get when talking to them,” hiring criteria provides a way to evaluate candidates objectively. This helps the company make documented, well-supported decisions that they can use to defend their hiring decisions should a candidate question the hiring process.

Examples of Hiring Criteria

There are various ways to assess whether a person is qualified for your position. Clear criteria are expressed in job descriptions and job postings, including skills, experience, and credentials.

Skills

Some jobs require technical skills such as ability to drive a truck, use Excel or Powerpoint, or code. Other skills include the ability to work with others, communication, presentation skills, or leadership. All these skills can be verified or tested during the interview process. This could be done through an assessment, or interview questions can ask the candidate to provide examples of their skills.

Experience

This determines whether the employee has performed this kind of work previously and to what level of expertise. This is also where you can see how the candidate has applied the skills and education they have. For instance, a job posting may specify a certain number of years in a specific field. There are a lot of different ways to word it, but ultimately the goal of this is to make clear to a candidate what previous experience would be helpful for this role. There can be some gray area on whether a candidate’s experience is the type of experience a company is looking for. Experience should not be part of the hiring criteria for entry-level positions.

Credentials

This typically refers more to education or certifications that the candidate has completed. This part of the hiring criteria is usually the easiest to assess, as it is a simple yes or no on whether a candidate has a specific kind of degree or certification.

How to Determine the Right Hiring Criteria for Your Company

It is important to figure out the right hiring criteria for your company and each job within it. Some are general criteria that apply to every job; others are more specific.

Step 1: Review Company’s Mission Statement, Goals, and Culture

Determine hiring criteria that align every job with your company’s mission statement, goals, and culture. The more time spent clarifying this, the more thorough your hiring criteria will be in finding candidates that align with what your company wants to accomplish.

Step 2: Set the Standard

From step 1, create a baseline that is universal across all company job postings. This could include characteristics such as team player, communicates well, teachable, or fast learner. Including those types of skills in every job description—a template of sorts—helps create the culture you desire.

Step 3: Conduct Job Analysis

A job analysis collects information about the history of a specific role in your company and other companies. This might include reviewing the skills, experience, and qualifications employees who are currently doing the job have, looking at the hiring criteria for similar jobs in the industry, or projecting what you want this employee to accomplish in this role and what skills, experience, and qualifications they need to do that.

Step 4: Create the Job Description and Job Posting

Now you are ready to incorporate all of the hiring criteria into the job description. The job description is used internally and is what you will reference while writing the job postings to which candidates will respond.

Tips for Using Hiring Criteria

Here are some tips for using your hard-won hiring criteria.

Tip 1: Impact Company Culture Positively

Use hiring criteria to build a company culture that aligns with your mission and goals. If that alignment is in place, you will hire the right people.

Tip 2: Have a Hiring Criteria Committee

Having a hiring criteria committee allows every department to have a voice in the type of employees you hire. Each department should be represented on this committee. While this committee won’t make hiring decisions or write job postings, it can play a vital role in providing guidance and setting the right expectations when it comes to hiring criteria.

Tip 3: Use Hiring Criteria to Compare Candidates

As mentioned previously, one of the more useful things about hiring criteria is increasing the objectivity of your hiring process. Sometimes a hiring decision comes down to two candidates, and it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for the job. Using hiring criteria can help make that decision easier. There are many ways to accomplish this. Some companies rate candidates on each hiring criteria during the interview process, and when a decision is close, totaling those rankings provides objective information about which candidate has more of the skills, experience, and credentials required by the role.
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Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Backfill
Boolean Search
Candidate Experience
Candidate Persona
Company Goals
Company Reputation
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Elevator Pitch
Employee-Generated Content
Employer Brand
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Essential Job Function
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HR Forecasting
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Intake Meeting
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