You need to benchmark what counts most.

This applies to both assessing people when interviewing and determining how good a candidate they are, and once you’ve hired them, and their performance in the job.

A common hiring error is to assess candidates against too many criteria, which can result in failing to tune into the attributes most required to perform in a job and/or an unrealistic set of expectations that no candidate is likely to me…

Imaging assessing a candidate against 15-20 criteria!

It would perhaps result in no-hire or a seriously drawn-out hiring outcome.

There are always exceptions in life, and in a small number of circumstances or in job types subject to various regulatory requirements, lengthy criteria may be essential.

Consider prioritising up to 5 key areas of criteria.

You may wish to identify the 5 most critical success factors which will determine whether a candidate succeeds or fails, typically these will include competencies, experience and motivations/values.

One option is to benchmark against your 5 key criteria and look to a broader set of perhaps 15-20 in case one or more of these present a serious red flag.

When it comes to onboarding the hire and looking to work with them, to develop them fully and optimise their performance in the job, the broader list of criteria/capabilities can act as an invaluable point of reference.

It’s not in my job spec!

Often HR professionals when writing job specs will be very general in their description of the role in the hope of giving the employer company both immediate flexibility and flexibility over time, so that changes can be easily accommodated.

This is a positive in respect of allowing scope for change. The downside is that you can fail to state clearly exactly what is required.

A smart manager may wish to have their own addendum which they keep to themselves and use as a point of reference or use with others as a Memo.


Benchmarking candidates

Candidate name: Position:
Interviewed by: Date:


Weighting Dimension (competency, experience, track record….) Rating Comments:
Functional, job type experience
Industry experience
Specialist factor
Proven track record
Challenge related


5) Excellent: Does the candidate meet all aspects of the characteristic?

4) Good/suitable: The candidate gave suitable responses – meets the standard well.

3) Satisfactory: The candidate gave suitable responses – meets the standard.

2) Poor / some doubts: Not an area of strength – responses lack substance.

1) Unacceptable: Evident weakness – responses did not meet the standard.





Whether hiring a Chef or CEO, it’s essential to be able to say “yes” to these three questions.

Can they do the job? Do they want the job? Will they fit in?

Qualify the following as appropriate.

Background checks References/soundings. Verify/seek proof of candidates’ salary package. When will the candidate resign?
Qualifications/certifications. Discuss counter-offer? When can the candidate start?