Have you ever wanted to hire better? Is your hiring process missing something? Do you have a process at all? Let’s learn why adding KPI to your KSA will not only improve your job specs, but will greatly improve your entire hiring process.

Why KPI? The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland” tells Alice “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.” Likewise, if you don’t use KPI to define success at each and every role in your company, then any candidate will do! But first, let’s be sure we understand what we’re talking about.

KSA is a common HR term that describes the Knowledge, Skills, and Ability that each role requires. These are the basics of most job specs and resumes. KPI, however, are the Key Performance Indicators that are used to define and measure success. But they need to be brought to beginning of the hiring process.

To illustrate why KPI are needed up front, think back to last car you bought. You had a list of your needs and wants. You had performance parameters you were looking for. In other words, you had KPI in mind. And you knew them up front. If you didn’t, how would you know what car to buy?

If speed was what you were looking for, a sports car would fit the bill. 0 to 60 MPH in under 2 seconds or a top end of 200+ MPH? Definitely a high-end sports car. But maybe that was beyond your budget. Or maybe you had a long commute and the performance you were looking for was not on the road, but at the gas pump. Then you would be looking for something with good gas mileage. So let’s go with that. Your KPI is now MPG. But that’s not enough. You also need a minimum level of performance. You run your calculations and determine that you need at least 25 MPG. Great. Let’s go shopping!

You ask the car salesman for the MPG on a car and he says “I don’t know.” “What?” you ask. “What do you mean you don’t know?” “Well, it should be able to get 25 MPG” he says. “What do you mean ‘Should’?” “Based on the size of the engine and the weight of the car, it should be able to get 25 MPG.” Would you buy that car? Who would spend $20,000 on something that should perform?

Yet that is exactly what we do every time we hire someone using only the KSA and a resume. In fact, we spend much more than $20k! You see, KSA tells us that the person should be able to do the job. It tells us they have the potential to succeed. But how many people have been let go that should have been able to do the job?

Let’s go back to the car salesman. What if he could show you that this car has been tested and proven to achieve an average of 27.3 MPG? Now we have something! Now we found the car we need.

So while KSA tells us the candidate has the potential to be successful, KPI gives us a precise measurement tool to test and prove they have a history of success!

Now we take this to the interviews. We’ll have more than one so let’s first cover the KSA. Remember, we’re not replacing the KSA, just adding to it. In our first interview we confirm that the information on the resume matches up with the KSA we require in the role.

Next we move to the KPI. This is where we dig deeper and use performance based questions to test the candidate to see if they have a history of success in the KPI we need. But be careful of percentages! 110% to plan and 150% to goal. Who’s plan? What goal? You want to see actual numbers. You want to weigh them against your standards, not someone else’s. You want an A player from an A team, not an A player from a C team.

Last, but certainly not least, we check references. In the interview we tested them for performance, but we need to check references to prove those answers were correct. Remember, our goal is to test and prove they have a history of success in the KPI required for the role.

That’s it! So don’t be like Alice. Know what success looks like in each and every role in your company. Use KPI throughout the hiring process to test and prove a history of success. And HIRE BETTER.