7 Steps to High-Performance Staffing

For those concerned enough to hire only the very best.


Finding that individual who values your business culture and whose performance will exceed your expectations is difficult under the best of circumstances. Today’s legal minefields and trained interviewees make doing so increasingly arduous.

The Seven Steps have been designed to source, identify and select top-performing employees in a manner that is defensible against discriminatory claims and negligent hiring lawsuits. They were developed from our personal hiring experiences and those we have encountered working with our many clients.

We published this overview of our Seven Steps so that you may easily compare your current hiring system against this guide and identify those areas where you are most likely exposed to inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and/or legal action. Needless to say, this should not be considered as legal advice. Please contact your labor attorney for advice as to how implementation of the Seven Steps in your organization will affect your exposure to litigation.

Please call us with your questions and comments. We will enjoy hearing from you and always appreciate an opportunity to serve you.

Bernard M. O’Donnell

Lead Consultant & CEO

Risks and Challenges of Hiring in Today’s Work Environment

When selecting staff, we believe six significant areas require high levels of cognizance. We considered them as we developed our 7 Steps.

Federal/State Regulation:

Particularly concerning discrimination under the Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.

Civil Litigation:

The extent to which an employer is responsible for the actions of employees on or off the job.

Negligent Hiring:

Resulting from violent, felonious or other damaging acts committed by employees hired without background checks, and precautionary information about prior incidents was available.

Changing Workforce:

Globalization, virtual corporations, attitudes toward work hours and assignments, empowerment, work teams, flat management structures, managing through technology.

Intentional Losses:

Employee theft of money, product, time — 36,000 business failures (40% of all) are attributable to theft; employees steal 10 times more per incident than shoplifters ($547 vs. $59). A third of employees routinely steal from employers. Employee theft has become the fastest growing segment of the economy — $400 billion annually.

Unintentional Losses:

Caused by hiring misfits to our organizational culture,values, image, management philosophy and work ethic — includes wasted training dollars, lost production, reduced quality, lost sales, lost customers/clients, management time, adverse affect on the production of others, higher turnover, sheer aggravation.


A hiring system is effective only if it is satisfies the requirements of an open position. If we have not accurately described the job to be done, then how can we possibly find the best person to do it? Since the Position Definition is so pivotal to the selection process, we discuss it as a prelude to our Seven Steps.

Develop an Accurate Job Description Focusing on Essential Activities


Establish clear criteria for:

  • job candidate selection
  • creating a common management perspective of the position
  • employee performance evaluation
  • training requirements


Hard Skills

i.e. keyboard 85 wpm, lift 350 lbs., sales experience leasing office space, ability to apply GAAP and prepare tax returns, MCSE certificate required

Soft Skills

i.e., enjoys working with people, team player, articulate communicator, meticulous, responds to coaching, willingly accepts unexpected changes in priorities, strong desire to serve others, deals effectively with irate customers, calm under stress, willing to assume team leadership in areas of expertise

Essential Activities/Requirements

ensure compliance with ADA etc.


  • Job holder prepares job description based on experience in job
  • Manager prepares job description based on desired activities and results
  • Manager and job holder meet to reconcile differences
  • Build Performance Model that defines characteristics that differentiate top performers from average performers and miscasts

Remember, the objective is to find the best qualified candidate by comparing
the candidate’s qualifications to the essential requirements of the job.

Step 1: Attract Applicants from Diverse Sources


Create adequate pool of qualified candidates and protect the company from discriminatory complaints and litigation.


Appropriate representation from “protected groups.” Ensure your applicant pool represents the demographics of the area.


Search/advertise in places, associations, publications etc. that represent a wide variety of “protected group” members such as ethnicity, age, etc.

Sourcing from both protected and non-protected groups may be your best evidence of a unbiased selection system. A diverse candidate pool allows you to focus your energy on identifying the best job match and company fit. Focusing on anything else may increase the likelihood of charges of either discrimination or reverse discrimination.

Step 2: Perform Initial Screening


Eliminate as many applicants as possible, as quickly as possible, as inexpensively as possible in order to establish the short list of best qualified candidates on whom you will focus.


Select the activities that are most appropriate to your situation and the job to be filled.

  1. screen job applications and/or resumes
  2. conduct brief (10 minute) telephone interview
  3. administer skills tests
  4. administer honesty/integrity survey
  5. arrange drug testing (move to later in process if expensive and does not tend to eliminate applicants)


Make your first activity that which will eliminate the most applicants at the least cost. Select your next activity in the same manner, and so on, until all desired screening activities have been completed.

Administer the Step One Survey. Select applicants to move to Step 3.

Step 3: Conduct Screening Interview


Establish the short list of candidates that warrant in-depth consideration.


15-20 minute interview.

  • Standard questions — consistent for everyone.
  • Assess how well candidate has applied skills in prior positions.
  • Explain the employee selection process.
  • Describe what its really like to work for the company.
  • Assess the candidate’s interest.
  • Gain a sufficient sense of soft skills to reject or continue through the process for a more insightful interview.


Lead a friendly open discussion of job requirements with a particular focus on application of hard skills.

Both interviewer and interviewee should be working together to establish an initial sense of whether the candidate is right for the job and whether the company is right for the candidate.

Caution: Hiring decisions are often made during the first few minutes of the interview and the remaining steps in the process are conducted so as to support those initial impressions. Refrain from first impression decisions— they are the cause of the misfits.

Remember: How you conduct the interview, your approach and behavior, will be used by the applicant to determine whether your organization is the type of place that he or she would like to work. It is your responsibility to accurately represent the culture and values of the company – not just in words but, more importantly, in behavior. Cheap interview tricks are unprofessional and often backfire.

Step 4: Prepare for the In-Depth, Revealing Interview


Gather information about the candidate in order to:

  1. corroborate what he/she has told you
  2. discover what you haven’t been told and identify areas of concern
  3. determine whether to invite candidate back for in-depth interview process
  4. prepare an interview tailored to the specific issues and concerns you have about the candidate


  • Administer ProfileXT Assessment
  • Verify education claims (degrees, certifications GPA, etc.)
  • Check references and prior employers


Verify claims made on the resume and during the screening interview by talking to prior employers and other references.

Administer the ProfileXT Assessment to evaluate the candidate’s reasoning faculties and abilities, learning speeds, interests, and core behavioral tendencies. (Can they do the job? Do they want to do the job? Will they do the job?) Evaluate how well these candidates compare to proven successful performers and to the company’s culture and management style. Confirm areas of compatibility and uncover areas of concern.

Prepare questions and scenarios to explore areas of concern. Use the Profile generated interview questions as the basis to explore areas of poor fit.

Caution: Be certain to have the applicant’s permission for reference and background checking. Consider making such permission a standard part of the job application.

Step 5: Conduct the Revealing Interview(s)


  • Select the top candidate and runner up.
  • Decide if top candidate should be offered job or start over.
  • Decide whether to offer job to runner-up if top candidate rejects offer.


  • In-depth interview(s) – may be two hours or more
  • Have other manager(s) or superior(s) also interview
  • Have employees meet candidate to explain what its like to work at the company. Ask employees for their impression.
  • Panel interviews may be conducted during this step although we do not necessarily encourage their use.


  • Use the interview questions you developed in step 4.
  • Be certain that other managers in the interview process have reviewed the information gathered in step 4 — they should prepare their own questions.
  • Meet with other managers and interviewers. Compare notes and discuss differences. Discuss and understand their impressions, recommendations and their underlying reasoning.
  • Make a decision. Select top candidate and second choice.
  • Decide whether to make job offer or start process over.

Step 6: Arrange Background Check


Protect company and individual from negligent hiring lawsuits. Determine areas of concern not uncovered elsewhere.


(as appropriate)

  • Criminal history
  • Credit Report
  • Driving Record
  • Worker’s Compensation Filings


We suggest only ordering background checks on the candidates to be offered a job. We believe these checks are a necessary due-diligence expense and critical to any defense against negligent hiring lawsuits but they tend not to eliminate sufficient applicants to warrant use earlier in the process.

We do suggest that education and references be verified in step 4, however. Use an outside firm. A professional will get the best results and help you determine what is necessary and allowable under the law.

Caution: Be certain background inquiries are job related; i.e., there is no need for the Driver Record check if the job does not require the employee to drive.

Step 7: Make the Job Offer (Conditional, if appropriate.)


Hire the candidate


  • Conditional Job Offer
  • Medical exam (if required)
  • Other items unique to your company

Highlights of some of our offerings

All of us at PERFORMISYS are eager to serve you with speed and professionalism.

Among the services we make available to you are:

  • Honesty/Integrity Testing
  • Profile Assessment Services, including:

    • success profiling
    • job match studies
    • management development
    • mentoring
    • succession planning
  • Background Checking Services
  • Organization Development and Consulting


Suggested Use:

Administer during Step 2


Integrity: What are the applicant’s attitudes regarding honesty, trust and personal ethics?

Substance Abuse: What attitudes does the applicant have about using and selling illegal substances?
Reliability: Do the applicant’s attitudes toward reliability indicate that he or she can be personally dependable with respect to tardiness and absenteeism?
Work Ethic: What are the applicant’s values regarding work and respect for supervisory authority.



Easy to administer and take
Easy to Understand
Easy to score – computerized

Fast: Quick test time – only 20 minutes
Broad Options:

Available in:

computer (on-screen)
Multilingual – Available in English and Spanish

Reliable: Accurate and dependable
Reasonable: Cost Effective


Reliable: Identify high risk applicants before they are hired.

About the PROFILE XT

Suggested Use: Administer during Step 4.


Learning Index

  • Numeric Skill
  • Numeric Reasoning & Problem Solving
  • Verbal Skill
  • Verbal Reasong & Problem Solving

Occupational Interests

  • Enterprising, Financial/Administrative, People Service, Technical, Mechanical, Creative


  • 9 core behavioral traits

Provides Job-Fit Percentage

  • measured on 20 scales against the working population

Fakeability/Validity Scale

  • Distortion Scale measures Candidate’s “frankness” in responding vs. trying too hard to answer in a favored manner


  • Custom hiring benchmarks unique to company and position
  • Identification of critical success factors
  • Assesses total person and becomes 1/3 of the hiring decision
  • Easy to read graphical representation and comprehensive narrative
  • Choice of personal, hiring, coaching, or succession planning reports
  • Self-administers via audio administration cassette tape
  • One hour to complete
  • Multi-linguistic, multi-cultural, non-discriminatory (1993, 1994 validations using diverse working population, multiple countries).


About the PROFILE XT

  • Accurately predict likelihood of success in job
  • Minimize exposure to ADA, EEO, and civil litigation.
  • Develop training programs around the way your employees learn.
  • Reduce turnover.
  • Implement effective career development and succession planning programs
  • Pinpoint concerns with existing staff. Train/coach for peak performance.
  • Much more, including:
  • increased productivity
  • profitability
  • employee and customer satisfaction


Suggested Use:

Administer during Step 6

(Move to earlier in the process if use eliminates significant numbers of applicants.)

(as appropriate to the requirements of the job:)

  • Worker’s Compensation Filing
  • Credit Reports
  • Criminal History Reports
  • Driving Reports
  • Former Employers and Personal Reference Checks

These reports are usually individualized by the ordering employer.

  • Vital Statistics Material
  • Court Index Searches
  • Address Searches
  • Corporate Information
  • normal turn around in 72 hours
  • “rush service” available
  • cost effective
  • minimized exposure to negligent hiring lawsuits
  • corroborate applicant’s statements and claims
  • identify high risk employees before they are hired
  • evidences “Due Diligence” in the selection process