What is the most important buying decision you’ll ever make? No matter what your answer, there is a proven system that ensures you always get the highest possible return on your investment. This system is used by governments, corporations, and startups worldwide for one reason and one reason only – because it works.

And, yet, this system is routinely ignored when it comes to making what is truly the most important buying decision any business owner or manager ever makes – who gets hired.

It seems few realize that best-practice purchasing procedures are also an effective employee hiring system. If you’re in this boat, maybe it’s time to consider taking a page out of your Purchasing Procedures Manual and start “buying” employees with the same due diligence you apply to every other investment decision.

Spell Out Your Purchasing Specifications

You can’t get what you need if you don’t know exactly what you need it to do. Your purchasing specs for a new employee should spell out:

1. The mental and physical capacities needed. Do you need a rocket scientist or someone with a GED? Does the applicant need to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or just mow and blow?

2. A Harvard Business School study determined that attitude accounts for 93 percent of a person’s success on the job so, spell out the innate attitudes (responsibility, teamwork, etc.) that ensure the employee likes the job and your customers like the employee.

3. The personality traits best suited to the job. Does the job call for a person who prefers to sit behind a desk or who would rather be outdoors? 

4. The specific skills you need. Does the ideal candidate need to be an expert at pruning? If yes, design a test to make sure you get what you need.

Solicit Interest

Next, the purchasing agent issues a Solicitation of Interest to find out who might provide the required products or services. This is when you advertise your job using every possible resource. Ask for referrals from employees, customers, and vendors. Advertise on job boards, your website, and in the local papers or on Craigslist and Facebook. 

Evaluate Bidders’ Qualifications

In the purchasing world, a qualified bidder is: “an entity that has the capability to perform the requirements and the reliability which assure performance.” In the hiring world, this is a series of simple steps that minimize disruptive and costly employee turnover by ensuring better hiring decisions.

First conduct a telephone pre-screen to see if applicants meet your basic hiring criteria (i.e., the ability to work the hours needed, reliable transportation, etc.). There’s no point in meeting anyone in person who doesn’t pass this step.

Those who pass the pre-screen are then tested to see if they meet the requirements called out in your specs. The first tests are for the required physical skills and mental capacities.

Once those are verified, standardized attitude and personality tests are also available to identify those people best suited to the job or you can build attitude and personality questions into your interview question set.

Issue Your Request for Proposal

Now, the purchasing agent invites qualified vendors to submit their proposals. Similarly, you have identified a group of people you want to invite in for the big test − the interview.

The interviewers who get the best results use structured interview question sets. By asking each applicant the same questions, they’re able to compare apples-to-apples and make the best hiring decisions. 

Conduct Your Bid Analysis

Now our purchasing agent will enter all the information from the proposals submitted into some kind of spreadsheet in order to analyze the data and make a decision. When you make a hiring decision, you have four things to consider and weigh as follows: 

1. Test results count for 30 percent

2. The interview counts for 30 percent

3. References count for 30 percent (if you’ve thoroughly checked them)

4. Your personal perception counts for 10 percent because you have normal, human biases. This is why so many people hire the best applicants instead of the best employees.)

When you find good-to-great ratings in all four areas, you’ve found the right person for the job. Every job applicant knows your job is to “buy” the best applicant you can. Don’t disappoint them. Use purchasing policies and procedures to decide who gets hired and watch your organization prosper.