Defining Eligibility for Attracting and Assessing Talent

Jerry Scher

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Attracting and hiring the right people and assigning them to the right position are essential to creating a great team and a profitable, sustainable organization. However, identifying and selecting the necessary talent is much easier said than done. Quite often, recruiting from the outside or promoting from within is a reactive activity assigned to poorly prepared executives or middle managers. This is quite obvious when you discuss with management the large percentage of costly hiring or promotion mistakes that are made. As with all processes within any enterprise, a well thought out, systematic approach must be put in place to build a great team. Consider this, “Today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems.”

When assessing candidates to fill a job opening or determining if a current employee should be promoted to a new position, it is crucial that you determine whether or not the individual is capable of actually doing the work. In order to accomplish this you must first develop a well-crafted job description that describes all of the requirements of the position and what is expected of the “ideal candidate.” Defining the key performance indicators (KPI’s) is a must and a team of people should be engaged to clearly determine agreed upon expectations. Consensus is necessary so that once you begin your search, everyone is in alignment and an objective process can be implemented.

A candidate’s eligibility is based upon their past experience (type as well as length of time), their education, appropriate certifications, skills and abilities and references/referrals (both professional and personal). All too often eligibility is viewed as a yes or no question. In other words we attempt to determine whether or not they meet a minimum set of requirements. But using this approach, all you’ve done is eliminate those that don’t meet your minimum requirements. How then do you objectively compare all those that meet your minimum requirements and determine who is the most qualified candidate?

Establishing a comprehensive list of eligibility factors and scoring each factor will enable you to compare the eligibility for each qualified candidate. The factors will include years of experience in a variety of positions, supervisory or management experience, years of experience in specific industries, appropriate education levels, specific skills, knowledge of foreign language(s), training programs completed, knowledge of different software programs, certifications, etc.

Assessing a person against specific job factors is much more challenging than just assessing them as a person. Each job has specific key success factors and they should be assessed in relationship to each other. Determining how different levels of job success factors will impact future performance is critical. Because this is a complex process requiring multiple calculations, the use of computer technology becomes quite obvious. The Harrison Assessments™ Talent Solutions System assesses Eligibility and Suitability to implement an effective Interview component.

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If you’re struggling with recruiting/hiring and want more information, visit  And be on the lookout for our continuing series on Defining Eligibility, Predicting Suitability and developing your Interview Expertise.

Part 3: "Predicting Suitability for Attracting and Assessing Talent" will be featured next Friday, March 23rd.


About Jerry Scher

Jerry Scher - Founder and Principal at Peak Focus
Jerry’s known by many names -- business builder, executive, conference speaker, trainer, facilitator, coach, mentor. Regardless of the title, the end result is the same -- making people around him significantly more successful. His ability to diagnose business issues and effectively communicate appropriate solutions, that can be acted upon quickly, truly differentiates him.

About Peak Focus

Peak Focus is the only soft skills training, coaching and publishing group dedicated to helping select entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners create sustainable businesses.