7 Steps To Hire The Best

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7 Steps To Hire The Best

By: Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

You can use this step-by-step method to hire applicants who are likely to be "superstar" employees:

  • highly productive
  • low-turnover

Important: Focus on hiring applicants you rate positively on all seven prediction methods.

1st Prediction Method = Brief Initial Screening Interview

If an applicant's application looks suitable, then conduct BISI, a customized 15-30 minute over-phone or in-person interview. BISI quickly reveals if an applicant has biographical data similar to your company's "superstar" employees.

For example, at one company, we discovered "superstar" Sales Reps had many similarities before working for this company:

  • Work: (a) 1 or 2 previous sales jobs, (b) only 1 or 2 jobs before applying at thecompany, and (c) kept prior jobs 2 - 5 years
  • Education: (a) earned B.A. from state universities, (b) majored in business or liberal arts, (c) worked part-time throughout college, and (d) college jobs entailed a lot of people contact
  • Pay: Earned less than likely first year compensation at this company
  • Vocal Style: Exuded high energy

So, this company's BISI screened-in applicants with similar work, education, pay, and vocal style - and screened-out other applicants.

2nd Prediction Method = Customized Pre-employment Tests

If the applicant did well on 1st Prediction Method - BISI, then you can have applicant take customized pre-employment tests. Use tests specifically designed to screen applicants and predict:

  1. Work Behavior - e.g., interpersonal skills, personality, and motivations
  2. Mental Abilities - e.g., problem-solving, vocabulary, math, grammar, and small detail abilities

Importantly, the test must use customized "benchmark scores" based on scores of your "superstar" employees. With customized "benchmark scores," you quickly see if an applicant scored similar to your company's "superstar" employees.

3rd Prediction Method = In-Depth Interview Using Customized

Interview Guide Form

If you decide the applicant did fine on 1st and 2nd Prediction Methods, then you may conduct an In-Depth Interview. Crucial: Create a customized Interview Guide document for each job, including (a) 6 - 9 key "make-or-brake" job talents, (b) questions to ask, (b) note-taking, and (c) ratings.

Importantly, you must provide seminar training to teach managers how to use your customized Interview Guides to assess applicants. Without superb training, interviewers fail to hire the best.

4th Prediction Method = Role-Play

If the applicant did well on 3rd Prediction Method, then have applicant do Role-Play immediately after In-Depth Interview. The 15 - 30 minute role-play lets you see if the applicant has critical job skills. For example, have a Sales Rep applicant role-play selling. Then, assess the applicant using a customized Role-Play Rating Checklist.

5th Prediction Method = Realistic Job Preview

If you decide applicant did well on 1st - 4th Prediction Methods, then do Realistic Job Preview: For RJP, the applicant spends ½ - 1 day watching an employee doing the job. Benefit: Applicants who received RJP are less likely to (a) accept job offer - but, if they accept, (b) turnover. Reason: The RJP assures they know what they are getting themselves into!

6th Prediction Method = 1 Executive Must Approve All Hiring

If the applicant did well on 1st - 5th Prediction Methods, then one executive at your company reviews Applicant Rating Summary Form. Your company's quick Applicant Summary Rating Form

  • summarizes ratings - positive, average, or negative - on 1st - 5th Prediction Methods
  • "forces" managers to actually use your structured hiring steps

Important: If the applicant's ratings on 1st - 5th Prediction Methods include

+ all positive ratings, then executive may approve hiring applicant

- average or negative ratings, then the executive may not allow applicant to be hired

7th Prediction Method = Reference Checks

If your company decides the applicant did well on 1st - 6th Prediction Methods - plus accepts job offer - then you conduct Reference Checks. If they prove

+ positive, then your company keeps applicant as an employee

- negative, then you take appropriate action

How Much Time Do You Need to Hire the Best?

Many managers moan they are time-crunched, and ask how much time these seven steps require. Two answers:

  1. If an applicant does well on 1st - 7th Prediction Methods, then you invested 2 - 3 hours to hire the best
  2. Ask yourself: How much time - and money - did you waste when you hired average or below-average applicants? You wasted many hours - plus salary, benefits and low productivity - because you failed to invest only 2 - 3 hours to hire the best!

Copyright 2005 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

About The Author

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is America's Hire the Best Expert". Dr. Mercer authored five books, including "Hire the Best -- & Avoid the Rest"". Many companies rely on his pre-employment test - "Abilities & Behavior Forecaster" Test" - to help hire the best. You can subscribe to his free e-Newsletter at www.DrMercer.com or call him at (847) 382-0690.



Aaron 05.10.2011. 17:52

Can anyone provide a detailed explanation on the production of Chocolate? I've got a school speech and I'm using the 7 step process of chocolate production as my topic. If you could describe it in simple terms that a class of high school seniors to understand, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!


Admin 05.10.2011. 17:52

I'm glad you asked. I just finished a paper on the production of chocolate. You can see my paper at the university website. However, there is one factor in the production of chocolate that is vital both in factory settings and when cooking at home. Here is an abstract, below.

"?and the combined effects of metathorcyklanide with natural alkaloids in production. Naturally, these effects are greatly reduced when employing workers in whose training natural combinatorial methods are deeply entrained. J&C Chocolates used a consulting agency to locate a small village of the world's most industrious natural chocolate makers, in the Mekong delta, an emergent tribe of Oompatic Lhumpahls, commonly referred to as Oompa Loopas. Their rhythmic engagement of their ancient maxims and philosophies into the processes of mixing and handling the . . ."

As you can see from this abstract, you're not going to make very good chocolate without hiring some oompa loompas.


Smitty Carmichael 02.12.2006. 16:30

How does the government (grade/step) pay scale work? I just got hired for a government job on a GS scale. I'm at grade 7, step 6. I've seen the advancement in steps due to time on the job, but how do you advance up grades (i.e. how do you go from grade 7 to grade 9, or 9 to 11, etc.)? Also if you go from grade 7, step 6, for example, to grade 9, do you stay at the same step 6 or start over at step 1 for the new grade? Thanks for any help you have.

Smitty Carmichael

Admin 02.12.2006. 16:30



dkchick123 07.06.2008. 18:23

what steps must you take @ work against sexual harassment before you should get a lawyer? what steps must you take @ work against sexual harassment before you should get a lawyer? and is it against the law for the employeer to tell the person who the claim is against who made the complaint?
also, this person doing the harassing has had MANY complaints, 1 of an employee i've spoken to who still works there & another by someone no longer there but i still talk to her & have spoken with both about what happened 2 them, they both told me that there were even MORE before their complaints.


Admin 07.06.2008. 18:23

I have been a victim of sexual harrassment work place (my immediate supervisor) here are the steps (LONG and LENGTHY PROCESS--even with witnesses.Witnesses may say they are 'all for you,go for it,but in the end they change their minds,can't remember ectra.as it was in my case.)
Before you get an attorney these things MUST be done:

1-Detail EVERY instance in writing.Dates,times,place,who was involved.This gives you a timeline and crediability to your claim.

2-Send written complaint to your supervisor (certified mail,signature required)(ALWAYS ,ALWAYS make copies,send the original) IF your harrasser is indeed your supervisor step up the process.Find name and address of Regional Manager--send certified mail detailed complaint (just facts,don't insert 'opinions'.) Wait 7 days from date of mailing to get your response.If none come,but harrassments getts worse by your boss there's your answer--they don't intend to investigate.

3-When ANY sexual harrassment complaint is filed there is almost always an internal investigation,as the complainant you have the right by law to see or get copy of the investigation/resolution.

4-File a claim with EEOC.If your claim has merit (and I assume it does) you will be assigned an investigator.When the EEOC rep. calls you you can ask how many times the company has been sued for sexual harrassment--(Won't tell you? No worry--Google search the city,state and company you are reporting,most have a link to find these matters out.)
It takes time lots of it so be prepared to wait. Months. My claim took 18 months. Check the status of your claim every Friday A.M. to see if it's moving along.Keep good communication going with EEOC.

-Only AFTER THE COMPLETE INVESTIGATION IS DONE BY EEOC will you be issued a 'right to sue letter'.Without this letter most lawyers won't even 'look at the case'. 90% of the lawyers I contacted were not even intrested without a hefty retainer fee$3000.00 and up.

6--IF you are offered mediation by the company(that would be a 'leagel team rep. calling you) ask for PUNITIVE and CONSQUENTIAL DAMAGES Plus lost wages.

7--I believe 'confidentialy of a complaint is covered under the privacy act' so it WOULD be a breach of privacy.
Best of luck to you.


that guy 29.04.2008. 18:31

What is the first step in installing a home theater? What is the first step in installing a home theater? I plan on including:

Seat risers
motorized projection screen
theater lighting
surround sound
media closet
Acoustics for sound (not sound proofing).

Put them in order if you can. Thanks
Wow, you 2 guys gave me a lot of information and even more things to think about (not be sarcastic). Thank you so much.

that guy

Admin 29.04.2008. 18:31

Based on just your list, assuming you've already wired, the order doesn't make a lot of different. Here's a couple things to consider first, that aren't on your list:

Since you have a dedicated room to work with, you have some considerations before fixing your final design. The difference between a good theater and an amazing theater is 50% room and 50% equipment.

Decisions to make:

1. Sound proofing. If the room is big enough you can build a room within your room by staggering new studwalls, floor and ceiling and placing special material between the walls. Floors are suspended much like motor mounts in a car.

2. Splaying the side walls. If you build an inner-room you should make the side walls unparallel. A 20 foot deep room should be two feet wider at the back as a minimum.

3. Breaking up the ceiling. Whether you build an inner room or not, you should change the shape of the ceiling from flat to? I like to build a lattice framework that looks like the swells of a wave from below, and then have it drywalled, but there are endless possibilities here. My curved ceiling hangs from the actual ceiling and doesn't extend to the walls in any direction. This allows for stunning lighting designs.

4. Raised seating. If you are planning rows, you will want to pick your seat now so the proper wires can be installed for hardwire control from Crestron, AMX, etc... Best choice is to have your eyes even with the center of the screen vertically and horizontally. If you're married, you might want to split the difference and share the best seating position.

5. Before any construction begins, equipment should be chosen so the correct wiring cna be installed in the walls. I would not use 16/2 or 16/4 in a dedicated theater. That's surround family room wire. I would recommend 12 or 14 gauge non oxydizing high strand count speaker wire.

6. The most important components in any system are the speakers, the display and the remote control. Those are the items that we interface with and hence will show the best return for dollar spent. The rack full of boxes is far more forgiving than mediocre interface devices!

7. Projectors and screens are available now that will adjust to the full width of a 2.35:1 motion picture and the films can be displayed at 24 fps, just like at the theater. This is a substantial improvement over standard 16:9 fixed with 30 fps limitation. Several companies are making projectors like this now. I like Runco, Vidicron and JVC with anamorphic lenses.

8. Speakers can be hidden behind a faux front wall, even if you don't build an inner room. Side and rear speakers can be hidden in architectural detail walls. Picking speakers is far more complex than I can write about here.

9. Controlling a theater can be a nightmare or a breeze. It all depends on the control system and the programmer. Today, I would choose between Crestron, AMX or LifeWare. There are less costly, lower performance options such as RTI, Pronto, Nevo which work pretty well.

10. Separate processors and amplifiers are great but I've had good luck with high end receivers from Yamaha, Marantz and PioneerElite also, and they cost less money. Depending on the rest of your theater, you might even be able to use Marantz's lower end line, Denon.

11. Cables don't have to be the very best, but don't buy the bargain basement stuff either. I use Ethereal for lower cost installations and Tributaries in nicer rooms.

12. Regardless of the theater you design, hire a professional for room accoustics, sound calibration and display calibration to SMPTE standards. An ISF certified tech is adequate for display, HAA certifed tech is okay and afforable for accoustics and a THX level 2 tech will be qualified to calibrate the audio. NOTE: Room accoustics costs the most, and is the most valuable!

Hope this is some help. Good luck and have fun with your project!


putty wutty 19.05.2008. 14:55

What are the 10 main steps when starting a business? When all you have is the idea what would be the 10 main steps from geting that idea to running the business? For example I would assume registering the company would be one of the ten...I am looking for all suggestions or opinions. Thanks

putty wutty

Admin 19.05.2008. 14:55

1. Idea of business put on paper
2. Numbers - Personal cash or loans?
3. Business plan. (Names, numbers, plans)
4. Register Ficticious name.
5. Incorporate.
6. Obtain PO Box or Commercial Space
7. Obtain city and/or county licensing.
8. Obtain Insurance: Liability, Commercial Vehicle, Workers Comp, Etc.
9. Market
10. Hire employees.


Bob 30.03.2012. 01:35

How does one take the Series 7 examination? I am a high school-er and I plan on taking the series 7 examination. I have been reading the prerequisites for the examination and to my understanding, I need to be sponsored and have had taken the series 63 examination. Furthermore, to qualify for the series 63 examination, I need to have sponsorship as well. Thus, how would I take the series 7 examination without getting a job at a brokage?


Admin 30.03.2012. 01:35

First of all, I am assuming that you are pursuing a career as a financial advisor at a brokerage firm. Otherwise, a Series 7 is useless. With that said, you do need sponsorship as required by FINRA. Don't apply to take the Series 7 without a sponsorship. Since the sponsoring firm must act as an Appropriate Signatory, if you are not sponsored, you will be rejected and may not get a refund. If you want to get sponsorship without getting a job at a brokerage firm, try a bank. Many banks have brokerages and hire brokers who already have the proper licensing. However, they also like to hire people internally. Usually they promote people who have been working as bankers who show the skills and express an interest in becoming a broker (most banks use titles such as "Financial Advisor" or Financial Consultant" instead of "Broker"). The problem is, this won't happen over night, although, many banks have their bankers get a Series 6/63 and life/health insurance licenses right after they are hired. They also provide the training and licensing fees. This is a good way to get your "feet wet" profiling clients and selling the appropriate mutual funds, fixed and variable annuities, unit investment trusts, etc. to implement their plan. In a position like this, you could get experience doing about 90% of what you would be doing if you had your Series 7. A great stepping stone if you are looking for a career in financial services. You will also build a client base. Becoming a financial advisor is a growing process. It takes years to acquire the knowledge and wisdom that comes from experience. But if you are passionate and patient, those will be great years as you build the foundation for the rest of your career. Once you have the experience and some clients, many firms will be interested to bring you in, help you get your 7 and 65/66. I applaud your ambition and initiative at such a young age, be patient and build a strong foundation and you can have a very long and rewarding career.

Hope this helps. Good luck


E S 21.01.2007. 16:16

What are the steps in building your own house? I am seriously thinking about building a house. It's not going to be a mansion or a shack, but somewhere in between that's comfortable and that I can call my own. What are the steps in building my own house?


Admin 21.01.2007. 16:16

I would-
1.write down what I want in a house, like what rooms, features,etc.
2.check local builders to see if there are any "kit " type of homes available that might come close to what you have in mind.
3.determine costs, then put forth your best effort to get most of the money ahead of time so you won't need to borrow as much.
4.pay attention to the details, once you start building, any change you make WILL cost you MORE.
5.hire an architect to draw up the plans you will need to take to your town for the permit. These need to be approved.
6.hire contractors to do the work you can't.
7.the first thing is to save all the money you can, 'cuz it'll cost you.


[ [ SillyAsian] ] 09.12.2007. 04:29

What are some decent jobs in Skokie,IL that would hire a 15 year old? I can't seem to find a decent job that would hire a 15 and let you work on weekends. Most of them require the age of 16; and my birthday is in August, which is kind of late. Help PLEASE!

[ [ SillyAsian] ]

Admin 09.12.2007. 04:29

Here's a short list of jobs which you can create to generate income:

1. Learn calligraphy so that you can provide handwritten invitations and thank you notes to prospective wedding parties, birthday celebrations, etc. Seek out clients through wedding planners at nearby churches and temples. A starter calligraphy kit usually runs around $20 and anyone can easily pick up this skill. The going rate is usually $1 per hand addressed item.

2. Become a "poser" who assists wedding photographers in setting and arranging various individuals in group and single photographic positions. "Posers" carry around a sketch book of various sitting and standing poses which consists of onion skin overlays of various wedding pictures bound in albums. Again, contact local wedding photographers and wedding planners, accordingly. The hourly pay is around $10-$12 per hour and you are often invited to attend all dining activities.

3. Seek from your neighbors a gardner position which involves planting, weed removal, plant/tree trimming, light brush clearance. You will be using the neighbor's equipment and tools. Again, do not represent yourself as a lawn mower since there are any number of safety issues involved. A door-to-door solicitation of surrounding neighbors is required and you can charge between $6 to $9 per hour.

4. Offer policing/removal or clearance of trash services to surrounding neighbors which involve trash pickup within nearby residential area. Limit the extent of pickup to small areas and be aware that there are no hazardous terrain or elements involved in this process. Again, a door-to-door solicitation of neighbors is in order. You can charge between $6.75 to $7.50 per hour.

5. Acquire a set of window cleaning tools [a bucket, liquid window cleaner, sponge, squeegee, handle with an extension and a small step ladder] and solicit local businesses for your window cleaning services. However, be careful to limit the height of the window cleaning to no higher than one story. Charge $1 per window panel.

6. Become a proxy/stand-in for neighbors to allow delivery of goods and packages to your home/apartment. Acquire the authority to sign any receipt of incoming packages as an accepting neighbor. Charge $1 per each package handled by you.

7. Consider becoming a restaurant-cafe customer liaison by using your cell phone at restaurants-cafes to coordinate with the hostess to keep track of waiting customers. Whenever there's a very long period of time to activate a waiting list, you want to offer the restaurant your services so that customers do not have to stand around for any lengthy period of time. And when their name/assigned number comes up; you can call the upcoming customer's cell phone to tell them that they can return to the restaurant and be served. The call back fee is usually around $0.50 cents on a per head basis. For example, a couple would be charged $1.00 while children under 6 would not be charged. Placement of a plaque which outlines your fee schedule near the hostess station is sufficient to garner attention of prospective customers who will value your services since they can do other activities outside of the restaurant -- often beyond the range of any inhouse paging system. You realize that everyone has a cellphone and why not take advantage of the connectivity to make the diner's experience worthwhile. The restaurant will also appreciate the added service you are providing as a customer liaison.

8. Why not become a paid feeder servicing the disabled at nearby nursing, convalescent, assisted living/care centers and hospitals. It involves feeding food to patients who are unable to feed themselves. The starting rate is $8.00 per hour. The only downside is that one has to take precautions to wash one's hands after each feeding. A posting of your services [by a business card or flyer] on a reviewable bulletin board would be enough to generate customers. The paid feeder position is one of the fastest growing occupation at this time.

Good luck!


daddeo01905 23.12.2012. 01:54

What are the steps to starting a small business? I want to start a boiler cleaning service business. I have training to service boilers. I want to know the basic steps to start a business, and get a $2000 loan for the equipment needed,


Admin 23.12.2012. 01:54

Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities

Step 1: Writing a Business Plan
This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully. Go to http://sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/writeabusinessplan/index.html , http://www.bplans.com/ or http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html for instructions on how to write a business plan and sample business plans.

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business. Go to http://www.score.org/mentors and enter your zip code. On the next screen, you will get information on the nearest SCORE chapter. Call them and arrange for a free meeting with a volunteer SCORE mentor. They will guide you through the process and you can meet with them as many times as you need.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Get advice from a commercial real estate agent and a SCORE mentor on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started. Any bank will require a business plan that shows that you can pay back the loan. You should have a credit score of at least 700. You will personally have to put up 30% of the funds as no bank is going to assume all of the risk. If you cannot get a loan, look at peer to peer lending sites such as http://www.kickstarter.com/ and http://www.prosper.com/

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative. If you decide to become an LLC, you can do it yourself by going to your state's website and then to the Secretary of the State section. There you will find a downloadable form. Fill it out and mail it in, together with the filing fee and in about a week, you will be an LLC.

Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")
Register your business name with your state government. Go to your state's website and then to the Secretary of the State section.

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business. Your local Chamber of Commerce and SCORE mentor can help.

Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=172179,00.html

Step 11: Understand your environmental, health and safety obligations.
Ensure that your business meets EHS (environmental, health and safety) regulations.


Matin R 25.11.2010. 22:54

Are these the proper steps to become a police officer? 1. Have a high school diploma
2. Have either an Associates degree or Bachelor's in Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement
3. Consider serving in the military
4. Apply for the local PD. Take the physical,oral,and physciological assessment.
5. Pass the lie detector test and the backround check.
6. Pass a drugs test as well as a criminal background history
7. The PD will determine who makes it to the police academy based on the highest scores of all the testing.

Matin R

Admin 25.11.2010. 22:54

This is department specific. Some departments require 64 college credits (or AA/AS), or two-years of active military service. Some departments require a civil servant exam -- others just an application where you would subsequently take an English test of some sort. In specific jurisdictions you can attend a police academy at your own cost, or be lucky enough to secure a sponsorship with the department that will hire you will pay the tuition (as in the academy I'll be instructing). In departments like the NYC Police Department, you first pass a written exam, and then you are placed in a background investigation. This is where a psychological both written and oral, a physical, and a plethora of other items are conducted on you in order to qualify you for the job. Once accepted you are ordered for a "Mini-Medical" where you start the academy in the following days. In this type of academy you are paid while you attend and are sworn in the first day as a PPO (Probationary Police Officer), you hold that title for two-years. After successfully completing the academy you go to field training for six months.
Civil service jobs are given by who scores the highest, and the qualifies first.


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