The Four Key Dimension to Measure When Hiring – Understanding the Can Do, Will Do, Able to Do & Done That

January 25, 2015
The Four Key Dimension to Measure When Hiring – Understanding the Can Do, Will Do, Able to Do & Done That

About to hire a new employee? How will you assess their suitability for the job? After over 15 years of personal observations most hiring managers go into the hiring process without any framework of assessment. For those of you who are guilty of hiring by the ‘seat of your pants’, let me give you a few helpful pointers to get you more structured.

Before starting the hiring process you need to evaluate the competencies required for the job. A competency is a set of behaviours (learned or innate), that demonstrates a job applicant, or current employee has the abilities, knowledge, skills and personal attributes to be successful on the job.

These competencies can be based on 5 broad areas:

Leading people – examples; strategic thinking, change management, commercial awareness

Achieving results – examples; sales ability, planning & organising, customer service

Working with others – examples; team works, written/verbal communication,

Managing others – examples; managing performance, coaching and developing others

Managing self – examples, initiative, integrity, resilience

At AssessAdvantage, we recommend no more than 8 to 10 core competencies, the number or balance in the above areas will be driven by the specific job. Obviously competencies relating to Leading People, or Managing Others would not apply to say a retail sales person.

Once you have a written list of competencies required to be successful in the job, you then need address what assessment procedures you will use to evaluate these.

I define assessments as a process of gathering, discussing, measuring and evaluating information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deeper understanding of a candidate’s knowledge, skill, experience, general mental ability, attitude, personality, values and motivations. In other words the candidate’s learned and innate behaviours as it relates to the job – I call this ‘Job Fit’.

Here are the four suggested areas that are critical to assess within each of your specific job competencies. Obviously the job role will dictate the weight given to each, or whether assessment is need in that area at all.

Can they do it? This relates to specific job knowledge, skills, training, and education. This is learned behaviour.

How will they do it? This is innate behaviour – attitude, initiative, motivation, interests etc.

Are they able to do it? Here we need to address physical capacity, dexterity, coordination, endurance.

Have they done it? This all about past experience, accomplishments, roles held, job progression and promotion.

Depending on the job, one would place greater weight on some of the above facets. For example, if we were hiring a sales manager we may what to place more weight on ensuring candidates demonstrated past experience. However, if we were hiring a sales person, we would focus more on the innate factors. For example; resilience, assertion, energy, motivation.

This brief article does not allow space for a full analysis, but let’s look at each of the four areas above with some examples of how you could assess (measure) these.

Can they do it?

This is the simplest to assess and can be evaluated through:
Knowledge test
A work sample test
Behavioural based interview

How will they do it?

This is really the domain of psychological profiling (employment tests), the only reliable and scientific way to measure a candidates innate characteristics. Here we could use:
Interest and motivation inventories
Personality tests
Job engagement surveys
Mental ability tests (problem solving and learning ability)

Able to do it?

The measure of physical capabilities:
Physical task simulations
Fitness assessments
Dexterity and coordination tests
Physical examination following appointment (with an out clause if failed)

Done that – Past experience

CV scan
Behavioural based interview
Structured reference check
Job simulation test

All too often our team at AssessAdvantage we will observe managers making important hiring decisions based on no competency frame work, or only partially assessing one or two areas of the competencies required. Managers usually hire on the ‘can do’ but always terminate, or have problem employees based on the ‘how will’

Recruiting new staff is a chore, and busy, frazzled managers always take short cuts finding it easier to assess candidates based on intuition, gut feel and emotional evaluation. Are you still bogged down approaching the hiring process by wading through dozens of CV looking for a person to hire? This is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

Today’s technology and the internet make it easy to collect and filter dozens of job applicants based on the four areas we have addressed above and to be able to communicate with these people more efficiently. Ask us about our Prevue Applicant Processing Platform

And remember, always hire tough, manager easy!

Rob McKay MA(Hons) Organisational Psychology

Director of AssessAdvantage Aust/NZ Ltd

He can be reached at:

+64 9 414 6030