New ideas in hiring are changing human resource management.

Illustration: a resume is pinned to a target by an arrow.We’ve all seen the usual job advertisement with its lists of required degrees, required experience, and required skills. Either the lists in the ad match those in our resume or they don’t. It can be a frustrating approach, and not just for the job seeker. If you work in human resource management, you know employers are struggling to find qualified workers.* But there may be a solution: performance-based hiring.

Developed by Lou Adler, performance-based hiring is founded on the principle that a job’s performance objectives should determine the job description, and that a job candidate’s competency and motivation to meet those objectives should determine who you hire. It’s not about the lists. It’s about what a job candidate can achieve within your organization.

In addition to rethinking your job descriptions, performance-based hiring also requires you to rethink the ways you attract new employees, compelling you to cast a wider net so you don’t miss those who could be a perfect fit but who already have a job and/or aren’t actively looking for the job you’re offering. Needless to say, moving to a performance-based hiring model takes some work. The question is: is it worth it? Here are three potential benefits:

  1. Performance-Based Hiring Can Help Focus Your Organizational Goals
    Since the first step in performance-based hiring is to rewrite job descriptions to focus on performance objectives, the process of performance-based hiring can help you and your organization stay focused on your goals and the best ways to achieve them.

    Let’s say you have a position open for a sales manager. In the past, you’ve looked for someone who has 5+ years of sales experience, has a bachelor’s or a graduate degree, and is “good with people.” But is that what you really want? Or do you really want someone who can increase sales by 10% annually, can independently attract new clients, and can reduce turnover within the sales team? None of those objectives necessarily require any of the “requirements” in the standard job description. By rewriting the description to focus on performance objectives, you can better define the paths you need to take to be a successful organization.

  2. Performance-Based Hiring Can Improve the Quality of Your Employees
    In the example above, we saw how standard job requirements are not always necessary for an employee to meet the objectives of the job. By moving beyond lists of requirements, you can expand the reach of your hiring efforts and find quality employees you might have otherwise missed.

    Additionally, by promoting job openings through their objectives, you can naturally attract candidates who want to achieve those objectives. Instead of interviewing people who simply want a job, you are increasing your chances of interviewing people who want the job you’re offering. This, in turn, increases your chances of hiring someone who is motivated and capable.

    You want job candidates who are seeking success, who are looking to advance their career, who want opportunities for future job growth, and who desire job satisfaction. Performance-based hiring allows you to actively seek these people out, rather than just hoping they show up.

  3. Performance-Based Hiring Can Lead to a More Diverse Workforce
    The standard lists of job requirements tend to result in a bunch of employees with very similar backgrounds. But performance-based hiring is only concerned with people who can meet—and exceed—the objectives of the job, thus deemphasizing past experience and creating more room for employees with different backgrounds. This diversity can help create an environment with more diverse ideas and lead to innovations your organization might have otherwise missed.

How Can You Learn More About Hiring Practices?

One of the best ways to begin a career or advance a career in human resource management is by earning an HR degree. But you don’t have to complete a multiyear human resource degree program to put yourself ahead. Instead, you can earn an HR graduate certificate at an online university.

When you enroll in a top online HR certificate program, you can gain a strategic understanding of HR while building fundamental HR skills you need to manage your organization’s most important asset—its people—with best practices in position planning, recruitment, and retention. In addition, by earning an online certificate in HR, you can take advantage of online learning’s convenience and flexibility, which can allow you to complete your coursework at home while maintaining a full-time job.

Performance-based hiring might be the future of human resource management. With the right online certificate program, you can position yourself to be a part of that future.


Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


*C. Rampell, Where Are the Workers?, The Washington Post, on the Internet at www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/02/10/where-are-the-workers/?utm_term=.c97835ded66c.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.