5-Step Process on How to Hire an Employee


It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or from where you graduated. You cannot build a successful business on your own. You may attain a level of distinction single handedly. However, to grow a business, you have to achieve scale, which requires people.

I’ve been working for 24 years. I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a regular 9-to-5 employee and as an employer. My experience covers various industries: finance, market research, food retail, manpower recruitment, information technology or IT, and currently, business process outsourcing or BPO. I’ve had the opportunity to work with people who had varying degrees of experience and who came from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Just like most of you, I’ve had my run-ins and share of conflicts with people. That’s the interesting aspect of human interaction, that is, having to deal with the emotional component of relationships on a daily basis.

For the most part, the experience has been enlightening and enriching. Through it all, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, I’ve come to a conclusion that regularly induces an “eye roll” from my contemporaries:

People are the most overlooked asset in any organization; however, they are the most valuable component in ensuring the success of a business.

If I were to make an educated guess on popular public opinion, I would say managers maintain a cautionary stance when it comes to dealing with human resource.

The fear of people is not confined in the Philippines. When I had the opportunity to work in Boston, management shared its reservations with labor. Clients I have from Canada shared labor unions, which were an issue several years ago but were methodically and strategically managed until these are no longer a concern.

The issue of labor relations in the Philippines and in other countries in South East Asia is deeply rooted because this region has a history of colonization. The citizens in this region throughout history have been subjected to tumultuous regimes, thereby reaching a point that the need to protect and preserve basic rights appears to be ingrained in our DNA. In Thailand for example, there have been a total of 12 military uprisings since 1932. The Philippines has had its own share of popular revolt, for example, the EDSA Revolution of 1986, which brought down the regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Since my days as a regular office employee up to my current occupation in BPO, managers have frowned on regularization for fear of being unionized or infiltrated. As an employee, it was normal for coworkers to share their grievances about management during coffee breaks or after office hours over drinks. Some of these grievances had merit but not to the point it would necessitate establishing a union in the workplace.

As an employer, I heard the usual rumblings of disgruntlement from employees particularly on the matter of salary increases and benefits. Those who tended to gripe about compensation were those who felt increases were mandatory regardless of performance. It didn’t matter to them whether the company hit its revenue targets. For them, once the fiscal year is over, increases should be in order.

Despite the misgivings of managers, one cannot deny the value of people in achieving business growth and sustainable success.

People are the most valuable asset in an organization because they are the only ones who can foresee and adapt to change. In this time of global economic uncertainty where even the mightiest nations have fallen into recession, longstanding political and societal structures have come down, and new markets of growth are rising in the most unlikely of regions. Moreover, organizations, now more than ever, need to develop leaders who can navigate corporations through turbulent waters.

To develop leaders, we need to look into our own people.

However, the task of developing leaders is rooted in the most basic question involving the human asset:

Who do we hire?

It would be unfair of me to characterize or generalize how human resources or HR structures its processes in recruiting and hiring people. Thus, I would like to make it explicitly clear that the observations expressed are purely based on my experiences. I have handled HR responsibilities during my time in food retail, manpower recruitment, and BPO.

In my opinion, the biggest problem with HR is that it overemphasizes technical and fundamental competencies. The criterion for selecting personnel is heavily focused on CV or curriculum vitae, which includes educational attainment, work experience, references, tests on basic skills, and analogies.

There are obvious reasons to support qualifying technical and fundamental competencies. However, in placing great emphasis on these, HR managers have overlooked a component of employment that is perhaps significantly important, crucial, and definitive in determining the best candidate for the company:

Behavioral Component.

How often have you come across a coworker with the experience and pedigree that could rival those of upper management yet routinely underperforms or fails to deliver? How many candidates have CVs that are punctuated with certifications, licenses, and references yet lag behind the rest in terms of performance and attainment of prescribed metrics?

Perhaps no one represents unfulfilled expectations better than Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Meyer who came onboard in 2012 after 13 years at Google. Since she assumed the top post at Yahoo!, Meyer has yet to fulfill the promise of a turnaround year as her administration keeps turning in one disappointing year after another. In 2013, Meyer spent US$ 100 million to acquire 21 companies plus US$ 1.1 billion for Tumblr. In addition to her “spending,” Meyer is known for her habitual tardiness.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: Experience is overrated.

Finding the right people for your business has less to do with who is best-fit than who is RIGHT-FIT. If you want people who are passionate, committed, and dedicated to help your organization meet its goals, focus less on what they can do and focus more on who they are.

The first step in determining right-fit employees starts with YOU. The company represents your business, which is defined by a purpose that you have identified. The root of every purpose originates from who you are, that is, your core values. Identify five nonnegotiable core values that guide the principles you abide by on a daily basis. By nonnegotiable, it means you can never violate them regardless of the situation. Your core values will guide you along the decision-making process.

Right-fit employees are those who accept, acknowledge, and align with your nonnegotiable values. Their values may not be exactly the same as yours, but the influence on the outcome should be the same. Once you’ve identified these values, it’s time to implement a value-based process in recruiting and hiring employees.

How to hire an employee

1. Realign your focus

Allot 20% on the technical and fundamental and 80% on the behavioral. Anyone regardless of educational attainment or work experience can be trained and developed to achieve an appreciable level of competence to perform the required task. What is important is the desire and commitment to learn and improve.

  • Preliminary interview – I focus on the socioeconomic background of an applicant. My objective is to determine the “how” and “why” of candidates to have a better understanding of “who” they are.
  • Values identification– Candidates are asked to write down their list of five nonnegotiable core values and explain why these form their guiding principles in life.
  • Preliminary testing – Those who are cleared in the preliminary interview are asked to take standard tests on basic office skills.

2. Liberalize the merits of CV

Unless specific qualifications are requested by the client or are standard requirements of a job, I review CVs with an open mind. There are several things you can infer about applicants simply from the way their CV is composed and printed out. Some HR managers disregard applications with an unprofessional image of the candidate. However, I would exercise tolerance and sound out candidates on their views on professionalism.

I have come across CVs that were printed out on a typewriter but still invited the candidates for an interview. Although I use CVs to give me a measure of context on who candidates are, listening to their stories provides a clear perspective in determining their character.

The same goes for educational attainment. I have hired people who only finished second year high school on the strength of their preliminary interview. One such candidate didn’t even score high on basic skills test but he was the first one who submitted all of the pre-employment requirements. In the first quarter of operations, he landed in the top 5 best performing agents. Within 6 months, he was promoted to supervisor.

I find most HR protocols too structured and punctuated with biases. Most HR practitioners forget the “human” aspect of HR and resort to programs that are heavily automated, dependent on technology, and lack human interaction.

3. Subject candidates to various behavioral tests

n every organization, one aspect is often ignored and disregarded as irrelevant but has been identified both as a stimulus to productivity and a precursor to destabilization: CULTURE. Work environment is teeming with highly distinct and unique behavioral patterns that are a consequence of a person’s socioeconomic condition. There are bound to be clashes in personalities. The task of management is to cultivate a culture that encourages teamwork instead of self-preservation.

  • Work with supervisors – Candidates who pass the basic skills tests are assigned a supervisor to work with who shall ask them to perform a set of instructions. The idea is to see how the candidate takes instruction and performs tasks.
  • Work within a group framework – Then, candidates are randomly assigned groups to work with. They are given a task to perform. The purpose is to see how an individual adjusts to work with others to accomplish a task.
  • Situational tests – Each candidate are individually asked questions with different situations that are totally unrelated to the job position. The purpose is to see how candidates think and prioritize their work and their life.

4. Perform due diligence

One of the biggest mistakes of companies is the failure to conduct comprehensive due diligence checks. Who a person presents himself/herself to be during interviews may be different from who he/she is outside the office. You should never be complacent and should take necessary measures to ensure your company’s reputation.

  • Character references – Contact the references indicated in CV. Be wary if these are mostly relatives. Call former employers as well.
  • Client references – Contact the clients indicated in their CV and verify favorable that statements are attributable to applicants.
  • Social media – You’ll be surprised on what you can “unearth” simply by entering a candidate’s name in a search query or on his/her social media accounts. The type, tone, and content of the postings will give you an idea if the nonnegotiable values are genuine.
  • Government agencies – Make sure every candidate has an updated clearance from the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

5. Be involved in the process

I’ve met business owners who’ve made a command decision to stay away from the hiring process. Although a business owner’s time is best allocated to core functions, I make it a point to be involved in part of the process. Whether it is in the preliminary interview, group discussions, or training, I want the candidates to have an idea of who they may work for. After all, my values are those of the company’s, and prospective employees should know who they will represent.


The process outlined herein only covers qualifying candidates during the pre-employment stage. Hiring an employee is one thing, developing a productive employee is another. Even with a value-based process with a strong emphasis on behavioral component, identifying right-fit employees take time because it involves relationship building.

A candidate that scores well does not guarantee a right-fit employee. The process of qualifying a right-fit employee is dynamic; it must be ongoing because in business, conditions are perpetually changing. The best way to gauge the qualifications of employees is in the actual performance of their duties.

Once employees are hired, you must continue to focus on their behavior. Implement process improvement systems that periodically assess the performance of an employee and schedule town hall meetings to provide employees a venue to express themselves. Most importantly, continue to invest in programs that develop and encourage leadership in people.

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