Last week at our Hire with Your Head book club event I proclaimed that it was easy to predict a new hire’s first year success and satisfaction on the start date based on the person’s answer to this one question.

How to Predict New Hire Job Success with Just One Question

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rank your understanding of the performance expectations for the job you’re about to start, your hiring manager’s coaching and delegating style, and your role on the teams and projects you’ll be working on?

Given a 10 is complete knowledge and a 1 very little, if the person’s answer is a 6 or below you’ve either made a hiring mistake or you’ve made the offer too soon.

The problem is that you’ll get the success and satisfaction results shown in the graphic below since most companies don’t have the information needed to make a proper hiring decision. To counteract this problem, here’s how job seekers can ensure they can confidently answer the question with a score of 8 or better.

Gallup Q12 Engagement Survey

The Gallup survey shown in the image paints a bleak picture of employee engagement in the United States (it’s worse in Europe). Despite the myriad of changes in work environments, from technological advancements to evolving corporate cultures, it’s clear about two-thirds of the workforce remains disengaged some of the time or most of the time. Over the years, even as economic and social conditions have fluctuated and despite $500 billion spent on new hiring initiatives, the trend lines show a persistent gap between those who are engaged at work and those who are not.

With roughly two-thirds of employees falling into the category of being either partially or actively disengaged, we’re clearly reminded that employee engagement is a chronic and pervasive issue. This is not just a reflection of workplace culture but of a deeper systemic issue within the hiring and recruitment processes of companies.

Performance-based Hiring is a Disciplined Business Process for Hiring

The problem, in my opinion, stems from a lack of disciplined hiring practices, persistent and obvious bias, and “I’ll know the perfect candidate when I see him!” attitude on the part of many hiring managers. Surprisingly, most organizations still rely on traditional, transactional hiring methods driven by conservative HR policies. They focus on checking boxes for skills and experience rather than delving into what truly motivates an individual and whether they are likely to find the work intrinsically rewarding.

Performance-based Hiring is a methodology that could turn the tide. It emphasizes hiring people based on their motivation to excel in roles that they find inherently motivating.

This consultative hiring process goes beyond the usual metrics. It seeks to understand a candidate’s drives and desires and matches them to the work’s inherent rewards and challenges. By doing so, companies can foster a workforce that is not just capable but also passionate and engaged.

You can experience the impact Performance-based Hiring can make for yourself just by asking our ChatGPT Coach these three questions before making another hiring decision:

  1. How can a performance-based job description improve a candidate’s on-the-job success, satisfaction and performance?
  2. Please prepare a performance-based job description for this position: (generic title, short description and 1-2 key objectives).
  3. What are some questions that I could ask to determine the fit factors in the Hiring Formula for Success to accurately assess intrinsic motivation to excel?

While this is a good start to demonstrate how Performance-based Hiring could help improve hiring results, the long-term solution to improving employee engagement lies in a total overhaul of traditional hiring practices starting with the elimination of traditional job descriptions that define people, not jobs. By adopting a Performance-based Hiring approach at every step in the hiring process, organizations can create teams of motivated individuals who are not only equipped to do the job but are also invested in their work, driving not just productivity but innovation and growth.

The 20 year plus data from Gallup should serve as a clarion call for the importance of this shift, highlighting the urgency of addressing employee disengagement as a critical factor in the success of any business. You might want to start the turnaround process by making sure hiring managers complete this course and score a perfect 100before ever hiring another person again. Then don’t be surprised when all your new hires score a 9 or 10 on their understanding of real job needs on the day they start.