Lead with Your Heart and Hire with Your Head Through Data-Driven Hiring

March 21, 2023

Mike Kuenzi

Mike Kuenzi

If you are a hiring manager, you know that finding the right candidate for a role is no easy feat. In a world where we have access to dizzying amounts of data, knowing what to look for and what the valuable metrics are is essential to building out a picture of the right person for the right seat. 

As is often the case with most discussions, it is best over a nice meal, and as luck would have it, this would set the scene for “an analogy to remember.”

Job interviewer examining resume. To check the history and ability of those who apply for the job that meet the company needs or not.

What’s on the Menu?

Light the candles, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and let’s dig into the data-driven hiring experience. 

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant (and barring how you chose the restaurant, the route to get there, and the time of day to eat, which all involved a lot of data-driven choices), the process typically goes like this: 

  • Arrive 
  • Host/hostess seats you and shares their name (data) 
  • You get the menu (data) 
  • You make a choice based on preference, desire, experience, recommendation (data)  
  • “Oh, my lanta, you HAVE to try the Fusilli Jerry, it’s to die forrr!”  
  • Questioning why you invited that person who dominates the conversation and tries to force you into food choices you know you won’t like. (data) 
  • Depending on the item, you might have to specify how you want it cooked (data) 
  • If you have a food allergy, you will need to know what to avoid (data) 

Even with the input of all the correct data, you will either receive a meal that you love or hate, you regret or recommend, you remember, or you forget. If that meal doesn’t arrive in the condition you expect it; (burned, underdone, covered in mayo that you specifically and categorically asked multiple times to be held at a great distance from your dish), then you send it back. 

When it comes time to pay the check, you want to know how much it is (you will likely want to know beforehand); and, based on your experience, what you plan on tipping… 

From there, you may decide to leave a review based on your experience 

In short, all your decisions are data-driven. The data that is important to us and the metrics that are valuable are how we assess the strength of our decisions and the likelihood of success in their outcomes. 

It is the same in the hiring process. Most companies will see success as a start date. Success is a candidate who accepts a job offer and shows up for their first day… 

We strongly believe that success can only be determined at least a year into the role and would look like a win-win for both company and the candidate. 

A successful meal doesn’t look like showing up to a restaurant and getting what you ordered. You determine the success of the meal after the experience (and when enough time has elapsed to where the threat of food poisoning sending you to the bathroom has passed.) Successful restaurants are the ones that can repeat their successes. They may not be the quickest or the cheapest, but the quality is ALWAYS guaranteed. 

If you’re familiar with Titus’s Hire 4 Performance process, the goal was to turn hiring on its head and innovate through challenging perspectives. Our approach focuses on assessing a candidate’s ability to perform in a specific role, rather than just looking at their qualifications on paper. 

We’re Sharing Our Secret Family Recipe for Hiring the Right People   

Success isn’t found in the skills that you have, but rather in how they are applied to the job you are doing, which in turn leads to the impact they create. 

To do this effectively, it’s important to use the right data and valuable metrics to assess a candidate’s relational fit for the role, their ability to perform what is required of them, their patterns of achievement, and what motivates them. 

To do this, we use the Head, Heart, and Briefcase. 

  • Head – Behaviors, Learning Agility, and Relational Alignment
  • Heart – Values and Motivators  
  • Briefcase – Skills, patterns of achievement, and technical ability  

From a Briefcase perspective, you’ve got your standard resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, of course. Then there is the data you gather from job interviews, reference checks, and even social media profiles (which can only be achieved by asking the right questions based on how you define and understand the role). But how do you turn this data into valuable metrics that help you make a better hiring decision? 

When it comes to the briefcase, or the menu if you will, a candidate must be able to do the job and have the necessary skills to excel in a role. The last thing you want is a chef who serves pork to a vegetarian; yes, that happened.  

  • Gordon Ramsay – “There’s a bone in the rigatoni.” 
  • Chef – “They put pork bones in the tomato sauce.” 
  • Gordon Ramsay – “She’s a vegetarian.” 
  • Chef – “That’s how we’ve always done it.” 

If you want to watch the clip, then click here (viewer discretion advised). 

Just because someone has been in a role for X number of years doesn’t mean they have those skills. You need to explore how and where those skills were utilized, and how successfully.  

Perhaps the most important metric of all is a candidate’s natural ‘fit’ for the role. This means assessing how well they will work with their team, manager, and other stakeholders in the company. It also highlights how motivated and satisfied they will be long-term in their seat. If you hire someone who naturally desires repetitive function, prefers thinking a lot before speaking, and cares a lot for advanced levels of rules and structure; are they really going to be engaged and energized by your commission-only sales role?  

When it comes to assessing relational fit, there’s a lot of data to consider. First off, it’s important to look beyond just the technical skills that a candidate possesses. You also need to assess their fit with your company culture, what they can add to the culture, and the specific requirements of the role. This means looking at things like communication style, problem-solving ability, and emotional intelligence. This is where tools like the Predictive Index come in. 

Correctly using the PI Assessments will give you data to ask further questions. They are not used as an automatic qualifier/disqualifier but more of a tool to dig deeper.   

So, how do you gather data to assess relational fit? One approach is to conduct behavioral interviews (based on targeted questions derived from the assessments) that focus on specific scenarios that the candidate may encounter in the role. This allows you to see how they would react in real-life situations and gives you valuable data to assess their fit. 

Another valuable metric to consider is the candidate’s track record of success in similar roles. Have they achieved measurable results in the past that align with the requirements of the role? Another metric to consider is their fit with your company’s core values and culture. Do they share the same values and demonstrate behaviors that align with your mission? 

So, you’ve used data to find the candidate and to assess their possibility of success, in fact, you can almost guarantee their success, and you can’t wait till day 365 to see what they achieve. 

Held in tension with the Head, the Heart brings another level of context to the table. Being able to gain insight into a candidate’s values and motivators will deepen your insight into their why. It will also give you an idea of how this candidate will synergize with your own set of core values, which is incredibly important from a relational and cultural perspective. Knowing a candidate’s why will inform their journey and career path. In restaurant terms, it could be the difference between offering a gluten-free option or creating a gluten-free experience.

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success, you have to INVEST. This is where your intentional onboarding process comes into play and where you set a defined and repeatable process in place to ensure everything stays on track so you can make the necessary adjustments where needed. This is not micro-management, this is quantifiable feedback, and it’s one of the reasons we developed Etho.

Every journey has 3 elements: the start, the destination, and the route. A successful journey would be seen as arriving at the destination safely, efficiently, and economically. Maps said it would take 8 hours, and cost X amount in gas.  

What about the intangibles? Can you REALLY know how someone is doing? What happens if the data doesn’t line up? 

In conclusion, a Hire 4 Performance approach can help you make better hiring decisions by focusing on a candidate’s ability to perform in the role, rather than just their qualifications on paper. But to do this effectively, it’s important to use the right data and valuable metrics to assess a candidate’s relational fit for the role. Just like a menu can give you an idea of what to expect at a restaurant, data can give you an idea of what a candidate is like. But the true experience is in the taste, or how they perform in the role. By using the right metrics, you can ensure that you hire the best candidate for the job.


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

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