Performance Factors In Hiring

By Neil Clark

There are so many things to consider when hiring a new employee that it is easy to miss some of the more important ones.

If hiring staff is actually your full-time job, that is one thing, but most security managers have some other function as their major activity. Hiring, therefore, is usually an ancillary function – just part of ‘being a manager’. So, here is what you should consider as important:

  • Knowledge and Experience
  • Motivation
  • External Factors
  • Personality
  • Proven Results.

Knowledge And Experience

This is what you see in the candidate’s resume. Be careful though, because you have to ignore the ‘advertising material’ and opinions in the resume. And do not become influenced by the covering letter that often accompanies a resume. This is a pure selling document. Look for the facts and ignore the opinions.

Knowledge and experience is usually the starting point. It is a quick way to eliminate candidates who would be quite unsuitable for the position. For instance, the applicant is applying for a senior technician’s role and their only experience is as a bartender.


What you are looking for here is an indication that they left their last job because they are looking for something bigger and more challenging.

If they became so good at producing results in their last job that they hit a ceiling and had nowhere else to go, that is probably the best motivation for leaving. And, if they see your job as the next step in their growth, that is excellent motivation for wanting to work for you.

External Factors

By this we mean those things, outside the job, that can negatively influence a person’s ability to perform well. These include such external influences as:

  • a crashing personal problem
  • the distance they have to travel to work
  • the money they need to make
  • the limitations of some type of physical disability.

Some people are affected more than others by such things. One may fall apart completely, whereas another may be completely unaffected. Just because they ‘appear’ to have a negative external influence is no reason to conclude that it will actually affect their ability to perform.

As an example, I once worked with an Administration Manager who was confined to a wheelchair. Not only did he do an incredible job on his post, he was known to go down to the parking garage and give his car a grease and oil change during his lunch break! How is that for overcoming seemingly insurmountable external factors?


How does the candidate respond to the problems that life (or the job) throws at them? What is their general demeanour? Do they have the right approach and style for this job?

These are all questions of personality. And, yes, they are important, but they are certainly not the overriding factor in making a hiring decision. Like the physical disability example above, a person with an apparently ‘wrong’ personality profile who actually produces results is far preferable to one with the ‘right’ personality who cannot produce.

Proven Results

The candidate’s proven ability to perform is the primary factor in all this. Consider the following scenarios:

  1. The candidate has certain knowledge and experience missing from their background. They have enough to be considered, but not as much as other applicants do.If, however, they have previously achieved outstanding results (far greater results than other ‘more qualified’ candidates did), what does it matter if they do not seem to have the same amount of knowledge and experience as the others do?
  2. Consider the candidate who would have to travel further to work than other (equally qualified) candidates.But suppose they had to travel just as far in their last two jobs and it never affected their ability to perform. If they achieved excellent results, despite the travel time, this external factor is obviously not a problem for them. They manage around it.
  3. Consider, now, the sales candidate who appears to be much less enthusiastic than others you are looking at. Their personality is such that they do not express their emotions in a highly visible manner.Their proven sales results, however, were at the top of the list in their previous jobs, so this aspect of their personality (their outward appearance) is obviously not a barrier to production.

The point is this: of all the performance factors you consider when looking at job candidates, their proven record of results is, by far, the superior item. If they got results, despite their shortcomings, then these apparent ‘shortcomings’ are not important.

Neil Clark has spent 30 years as a manager in both large and small organisations in Australia and South East Asia. He can be contacted via, where more articles of this type can also be viewed.