Kenna Company Home Page Free Resources Articles Kenna Company  
The KENNA Company equips each hiring manager with the tools and information needed to assist every person in becoming a highly motivated and effective team member. Helping Leaders Select and Engage High Impact Performers  
Practical and pragmatic coaching for executives and managers who want to accomplish more - faster. We help companies transform their hiring process into a system that allows them to hire the right candidate for the job. The benefits can transform a company. We offer 'on-site' team building for new or 'stuck' teams.  We also sell TeamTraks, an easy-to-use set of modules which can be used off-the-shelf to address a number of team intervention needs and competencies. Our most requested training is for Improving Communication Skills and Improving Managers' People Skills .  All training is customized to meet the client's specific needs. We sell the leading assessments and surveys available (and support your use of them in any way you need). Assessments include The TriMetrix System (benchmarking job and objectively assessing candidate fit), Attributes Index (job competencies), Success Insights (Personality tests, behavioral assessments, motivations indicator assessments) and Insight Inventory.  Many assessments available in up to 15 languages. Someone completes one of our assessments via the Internet every 4.1 seconds!  We can also 'custom design' any survey to meet your needs including 360, customer and employee satisfaction. For those companies and individuals who are not familiar with our products or service, we provide a free team needs assessment from TeamTraks, an opportunity to complete one of our assessments, newsletters, articles, and a free coaching session. Proudly, our clients include Shell Oil, John Deere, Mr. Goodcents, Short Circuit Electronics, Brass Eagle Paintball, and many more. We'd love to hear from you - ideas, needs and questions. Look through the site and call if we can help you.  
Teamwork:  Sense of purpose, solid goals, improved individual and group performance, increased productivity, increased creativity, increased sense of employee motivation and belonging.

Anyone with responsibility for hiring or promoting employees knows how aggravating it is to select a candidate that seemed right only to discover later they weren’t as good a fit for the job as you thought they'd be. Poor job fit results in lost productivity and excessive attrition - both costly issues for today’s lean organizations.

Why do we so often hire the wrong person for the job?

Often, the hiring manager isn't clear about what is required to perform the job well. When there is lack of clarity concerning any aspect of the job or the person needed for the job, managers opt for candidates they like. Many times the candidate is like the manager and we almost always ‘like’ people who match our styles. We also hire candidates who seem to know people in the industry (have an extensive rolodex). This is more common for sales people or very senior positions.

Another reason for hiring the wrong candidate is that they have prepared well and have effectively sold themselves during the interview. And perhaps the most intriguing reason for poor fit that I hear (too often), is that managers sometimes know the candidate isn’t an ideal fit, but place them in the job anyway. The rational I hear for this questionable logic includes ‘we just weren’t attracting any really good candidates’ or ‘interviewing takes a lot of time and I don’t have a lot of time’.

How can you prevent hiring the wrong candidate in your organization?

1. Define the ‘hard’ needs of the job including experience required (and in what), knowledge of industry, training and education, consistency of work history, willingness to travel, what they need to be proficient at (like using Excel or driving a truck). A review of a candidate’s experiences, references, education, skills and training tells us WHAT they can do and whether it matches the needs of the job. At some point you must have a background check performed - the higher the job, the more extensive the check.

2. Develop a list of 3 – 6 key accountabilities or goals that this job will ‘be held accountable for. These are those things that must be done and that will impact the business. Key Accountabilities are the reason the job exists. They must be measurable. And these 3 – 6 key accountabilities should occupy about 80% of the employees time. (Note: From my work with clients, this is the most important pre-hiring activity and is the one most often neglected.)

3. Benchmark the job. We find that those companies that effectively benchmark the soft skills required for success in the job they are filling have the information they need to look for the right candidate. And the information is objective (helping to eliminate bias). Notice I did not say benchmark your top performers in the job (such as sales). The reason is that your top performers may just be top performers in your company. It is not unusual for a company to benchmark the job and then assess their top performers and find this to be the reality. All is not loss. Two opportunities present themselves:

a. Using the benchmark you can upgrade the talent in the position by filling the position with a new person who is a better fit or helping the current employee develop.

b. Using the benchmark and the reports generated from the assessment reports, you will have great information with which to coach you current top performers into even greater performance.

Also, using a predetermined benchmark is fine for comparison sake, but use these with care. The generalized benchmark may not be accurate for the specific job you are filling or doing succession planning for.

4. Assess your top job candidates (internal and external) versus the benchmark. Using effective hiring systems, assessing candidates’ soft skills is easier today than ever before. You can have the candidate complete our assessments from anywhere there is Internet access. And you will have their reports within minutes. The candidate’s reports should align with the benchmark which makes your analysis easy and quick. In areas that are marginal, the candidate’s reports will guide you in asking interviewing questions that target the soft skills that are most important to success in the job.

Are soft skills really important in jobs?

The answer is YES! We hire for skills and fire for attitudes (soft skills). There was a time when it wasn’t very fashionable in business to focus on soft skills. The trend was to focus on hard skills (Can they DO the task required?). Today, though, we have matured and understand that soft skills (sometimes called personal skills) usually have more to do with success and failure in a job than hard skills. For example, I have heard more than one client say “We can train them to do X, but if they aren’t good team players, concrete thinkers or problem solvers (soft skill), they can’t be effective in this job.” Conversely, I have heard most of my clients say “The reality of how (name) is doing is not what I had hoped for when I hired them! I don’t know why I didn’t see this when I was interviewing them.”

Soft skills comprise a person’s job attributes, their motivators and their behaviors.

Attributes are a cognitive measure of how strongly a person values certain competencies like customer service, leading others, quality orientation, flexibility, internal self control or self management. The more important the competency is to success in the job, the more important it needs to be to the person hired for the job. Attributes and Competencies often are the most important consideration when evaluating a candidate's people skills.

Motivators tell us WHY a person does what they do. There are six primary Motivators: Theoretical, Individualistic, Social, Utilitarian, Traditional and Aesthetic. Here’s an example: Someone who is highly Utilitarian is motivated by results. They are profit-driven and bottom line oriented. They are driven by competition, challenges and economic incentives. The want to see results from anything they do, spend or give (including time)If the job provides and rewards these characteristics, the individual will be motivated.

Behaviors were once thought to be the key to success performance in a job. While still seen as important, Attributes and Motivators are often more important because it is easier to adapt behaviors to the situation. That said, Behaviors can cause a person to fail in a job or feel a great deal of stress because their style is not a good fit for the job. For example, if someone is extremely outgoing and positive, putting them in a job that has little people contact and high levels of skepticism will be very frustrating for them. Someone in a position of authority who has difficulty making decisions will have trouble leading. In addition, an understanding of one’s behavioral style and that of others is key to effective interpersonal communication.

The right assessments are the key to successful hiring

The right assessments can help you objectively understand a candidate’s attributes, competencies, motivators and behaviors. Comparing a candidate’s assessment reports to the needs of the job (benchmark) will help you understand how good – or poor – a fit the candidate will be for the job. Assessments help you get under the resume and the candidate’s interviewing persona. The right assessments will unearth a wonderfully rich body of information which you can use to help you continue the interviewing process and make your decision. The information you get from the right assessment reports can even serve as coaching guides for those candidates you hire or incumbents you are working to develop. One of my clients, who has been using assessments for the past three years, says “I don’t know how we could effectively make a hiring decision today without the information we get from these (assessment) reports.” Another client says “These reports have saved me, more than once, from making a terrible hiring mistake.”

Benefits of hiring employees who fit their job

Managers who are clear about the requirements for success in a job - including the ideal profile of personal attributes, motivators and behaviors - will have high levels of success when they hire. Filling each of your job openings with candidates who really fit is simply good business. It improves productivity, morale, and ultimately, the success of your organization. It reduces the burden on the manager because the employee will like their job. It creates energy for those who work around someone who loves their job. It creates loyalty (yep, there is still such a thing as loyalty). It inspires creativity. And finally, it saves money and reduces disruptions to the business which is the result of having to fire someone or having them quit (whether they actually leave of not).

Joe McKenna, founder of The KENNA Company, is an expert in the
people-centric workplace issues such as employee selection, succession planning, executive coaching, communication skills and team building. He can be reached at (816)943-0868 or His website is

© TKC 2005 - The KENNA Company helps companies select and engage high impact performers. Their products and services help companies improve employee productivity, employee retention, employee teamwork and employee engagement. Contact:;; 816-943-0868.


Here are three easy ways to reach us:

Call us: 816-943-0868
Fax us: 816-943-0808
E-mail us:

Kenna Company  
This site is the Copyright Property of The KENNA Company Our newsletter - Promoting Excellence - provides our clients and other subscribers with articles and 'how to' suggestions in areas such as motivating employees, hiring the best candidate, self-management, sales tips, manager essentials, leadership and more. A company's privacy policy is critical if you plan to provide them with any of your personal information.  Please read ours.  In essesnce, we won't share it with anyone. Please let us know how we can better meet your needs - on this site, in our newsletter or at your business. Joe McKenna is Founder of The KENNA Company.  Read about his background.  If you choose to sign up with us for Executive Coaching, Joe will be your coach. The KENNA Company - helping leaders select and engage high impact employees. Proud partner of Target Training International and Innermetrix.