Assessments can help you to hire and retain the smartest people

Everyone wants to hire the right person the first time. The reality is, we will never achieve this goal with each individual we hire, even if committed to retaining talent. That doesn’t mean we can´t be proactive and intentional in our strategies to increase our level of success in our quest to attract, hire and ultimately retain the smartest people.   Individuals will come and go, despite our best efforts. Once we accept that fact, we can move on and do the best we can.

Job satisfaction research shows that close to 85% of people dislike what they do for a living, from a feeling of mild irritation to absolutely loathing their work.

How do you attract, hire, and retain the smartest people?

1. Set a goal to be an employer of choice

Your firm must have a solid reputation in the marketplace that it is an excellent place to work.  The work environment and the culture of your organization offer are two of the essential ingredients for creating a positive reputation that will attract and retain the smartest people. The most talented individuals usually have other job choices. Your work environment sets the tone for their decision to join or not.

Great marketing does not improve a poor product. You can advertise, attend job fairs, and implement PR campaigns but for attracting and retaining talent, there is no substitute for a supportive work environment and culture.

Obviously, that can´t be accomplished overnight. It is achieved when transformational leadership is activated within your organization. Having competent, supportive leaders who equip others to win is a first step to attracting, hiring, and retaining talent in your organization.

2. Be clear about what you want for your company and who can help you achieve your goals

Confirm the job style best suited to each work position. If the personal style of the individual does not match the job style of the position, there is little chance the person will be able to sustain an acceptable level of performance or stay engaged in the role. In fact, our experience with over 1 million people is that any hiring process that does not include the critical element of matching those two styles will lower the potential for success. You must be clear about the qualities, characteristics, values, skills, and experience you desire in the people who work for your company. Document your needs and wishes for each of those areas. If your intent is not in writing, it does not exist.

Most successful hiring systems include assessments. They provide credibility and consistency to your process and confirm that the role fits the applicant´s purpose, gifts, and talents. Contrary to what many recruiters believe, they don´t hire anyone! The applicant is the one who chooses to engage the opportunity in front of him or her.

As the person doing the hiring, you can exclude an individual from your team—and your ability to say No is critical to attracting the best talent.

The interview process

Your interview process should encourage applicants to feel equally comfortable saying Yes or No to the job opportunity.  Some recruiters erroneously believe they are there to close the deal;  to get applicants to say Yes to accept a position.

  • What if applicants say “Yes” because they were sold, not because they really fit the job? That misleading approach will contribute to poor performance and increased turnover.
  • What if you are interviewing individuals who do not know their purpose, values, or gifts? It is your responsibility as a recruiter to assist applicants to get in touch with their purpose.


That´s where assessments come in. They provide a methodology and process to help people confirm their values and purpose.

  • Use predictive tests to exclude applicants.
  • Use self-discovery assessments to include, hire and develop individuals.

When candidates connect with the important insights they learn from their assessments, they can clearly articulate whether or not they fit a job opportunity.  If you short-change your hiring process and don´t use assessments, you will pay the price through staff turnover.


The key to retain the smartest people is to be proactive. Know how each person is engaged and connected to his or her job roles and responsibilities.  Oddly, letting some individuals go can help you retain talent.

The presence of incompetent individuals can frustrate people who are doing their jobs well. Dedicated, capable individuals get perturbed when an organization permits incompetents to stay, such as a poor manager or someone who compromises the organization´s values.

Individuals change and grow. That might require shifting or expanding job responsibilities. But some talented individuals will quit because you promoted them to a level or area they don´t like. The assumption that everyone has the ambition to advance is incorrect. When people already like what they are doing, changing their job responsibilities could cause them to disengage and leave the company.

In spite of your best efforts, some people will desert your organization. Look at this as an excellent opportunity for hiring fresh blood—the chance to hire even more appropriate individuals!

Ken Keis

Ken Keis, Ph.D, President of CRG, is considered a global authority on the way assessment strategies increase and multiply your success rate. In 28 years, he has conducted over 3,000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. His latest book, The Quest for Purpose: A Self-Discovery Process To Find It and Live It! takes you on a step-by-step journey to discover your life’s purpose.

Ken is the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? – Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of Deliberate Leadership – Creating Success Through Personal Style. He has also co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and written over 400 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations to realize their full potential, and to live On Purpose!