Who Are You Hiring, Really?

By: Ben Murphy


Just about everyone has encountered a person who looked good “on paper” but didn’t quite work out in reality. You hear about it quite a lot in the dating world, but it’s also an issue when it comes to hiring, especially when a company relies too heavily on a resume. Why? Because each person is so much more than a one-page summary of a few jobs they’ve had.  

Hiring Beyond the Resume 

We’re certainly not saying that the resume needs to be thrown out, it serves a purpose – an important one. But finding the right candidate for your position goes beyond the resume and considers the person as a whole. You don’t need to go any further than yourself to see that who you are is so much more interesting than your resume. You’re a complex person with different experiences and layers of interests and talent that shape who you are and can shape how you perform your job. 

Who Is Your Candidate? 

To find the right individual for your open position, it takes a thoughtful evaluation of the whole person. To do this, we’ve created a process we call hiring the Whole Person, which is comprised of the head, heart, and briefcase (HHB). What does that mean? 

  • Head. This is the natural behavioral tendencies and cognitive abilities of the individual. It’s not about their personality or their intellect, but their how they naturally prefer to operate, how they’re “wired”. 
  • Heart. The heart is all about their values, motivators, and interests. This is often the area that makes them really stand out and appear different from other candidates. 
  • Briefcase. This is where the resume fits in, but it’s broader than that. Rather than looking at the primary tasks they’ve performed, the briefcase focuses on what they’ve accomplished and the skills they’ve gained over the course of their work history. 

Understanding this head, heart, briefcase approach takes you deeper into who that candidate is, what their “whole person” is all about. But how do you discover this information when it’s not on the resume? 

How to Evaluate the Whole Person 

To start, knowing what the layers of the individual are that you want to uncover will direct your hiring interviews. When the interviewer knows they want to find out what the candidate is passionate about, what they’re proud of professionally, and even what tasks they didn’t like, the interview is structured accordingly. It becomes about learning who this person is, not only if they have the skills for the job. One thing this approach allows you to consider is that it might not be whether the candidate currently has the skills but whether they can learn them – something you can easily uncover when you evaluate the whole person. 

Here are some sample head, heart, briefcase approved interview questions. 


  1. Describe the level of social interaction you’re looking for within your day-to-day activities. 
  2. Describe a time when you had to complete a project with very little direction.   
  3. Describe a time when you had a deadline that was changed or pushed up with very little notice. How did you handle that?   


  1. Tell me about what core values you live by. 
  2. What are your motivating factors in exploring this role? (Why are you interested in this role?) 
  3. What do you like to do when you’re not working?


  1. One of the main objectives for this role is to {insert position objective}. Explain how you have accomplished similar objectives. 
  2. What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date at {insert candidate’s current company}? 

So, the interview is one way to discover who the whole person is, but that’s not the only way. 

Behavioral and Cognitive Assessments: An Important Interview Tool 

At Titus Talent, we use a tool called The Predictive Index to help us dive deeper into who each candidate is and what makes them tick. It measures both cognitive reasoning and the inherent behavioral traits of individuals. It gives you that extra view behind the resume and it helps you ensure alignment with the rest of your team (and even allows you to identify and fill gaps on your team!).  

Not only does an assessment tool help remove some of the subjectivity in hiring, it also gathers information you otherwise would have missed out on by simply asking questions. In fact, by using an assessment tool in your hiring you can increase your accuracy in hiring the right person. A standard interview is only about 34% predictive of on the job performance, but when you combine an interview with a proven behavioral and cognitive assessment, that numbers jumps to roughly 58% accuracy (source).  

There are loads of behavioral and cognitive assessments out there. At the end of the day, we were sold on The Predictive Index for a plethora of reasons, but the biggest takeaway from this is simply to ensure you’re using some sort of objective assessment tool (and if you want to know more of why we chose The Predictive Index as our assessment tool, read more on that here).  

But Wait – Are You Ready? 

Gathering this fantastic information about candidates is wonderful and it really gives you a more three-dimensional view of who you’re hiring, but if you don’t understand your company, all of that information might be useless. 

Okay, maybe not entirely useless, but if you haven’t done the work to define the role that person will play and what’s most important for them to do to be considered successful, you’re setting them up to fail. Defining the seat (as we like to call it) is just as important as who you hire to sit there. Your candidate needs to know what they’ll be expected to do.  

Think of this part as looking at the “whole job,” not just what’s on the job description – exactly the same as going beyond the resume to find the “whole person.” When you have that dynamic view of both, then it’s easier to pull the right job and person together and create a solid marriage that will last. 

If you’re not sure how to define the seat or look beyond the resume, we’re here to help. Titus Talent Strategies has honed the hiring process to the point where we guarantee our success. We go beyond just giving you a list of potential hires, we help you find the right candidate and guarantee they’ll do exactly what you hired them to do. We’re that sure of our process. Connect with us today to learn more.

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