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Stop using a Job Description and use this tool instead to avoid mis-hiring.

Updated: Jan 7

Person interviewing
Avoid a Mis-hire with a Job Scorecard

This is the third article in a series on Getting the right people in the right seats during Scaling. See my previous articles on How to determine the right seats using the Functional Accountability exercise and How to assess performance using the Talent Assessment exercise.


The new year is usually a time of people movement. People who have been thinking about moving on usually do so within Q1 or after their annual bonus. Likewise, a fresh start to the year often brings with it decisions to end months of frustration on both sides from mis-hiring.


No-one likes mis-hiring. It's bad for the business because it’s time consuming and costly to hire someone, particularly the more senior they are.


It also doesn’t feel good. For either the hiring manager or the person mis-hired. Everyone feels disappointed that expectations were not met, and this disappointment is felt on both sides.


I recently mapped the hiring process for a senior position with a company. They were surprised to find there were at least 20 steps in the process, taking 4-5 months and involving at least 3 people in the exec team.


Calculating the Cost of a Mis-Hire

The cost of mis-hire has been measured by Topgrading authors and experienced recruiters Brad and Geoff Smart. They calculate the cost is at least 3X the annualised salary of the role. Not to mention opportunity cost of lost tie, hiring (4 months), onboarding (2-3 months) and not performing in a role (6 -12 months). Time is money in a scaling organisation and a lot can change in 18 months, before both parties agree this probably wasn’t the right decision for either.


So how can we get the right person in the role and avoid mis-hiring?


Enter the Job Scorecard


Starting the process with a Job scorecard is more likely to result in hiring A-players, according to Topgrading, a process that if followed, results in hiring >90% A-players.


Here is a complimentary version of a Job Scorecard on which to base your next role hiring process.


 Jobscorecard: First step in the hiring process.



What’s the difference between a Job Scorecard and a Job Description?


Job descriptions tend to be so vague anyone can perform them and still be deemed a ‘mis-hire’. This is partially because they are lengthy and focus on multiple tasks and responsibilities required by not only the hiring manager, but across the business stakeholders.


For example, imagine you are hiring a new Senior Director of Sales. The job description probably says something like this


  • Boost global sales,

  • Successfully launch new products,

  • Maintain or achieve profitability goals



Ultimately the role will have multiple stakeholders and expectations on what is the most important job to be done from not only the hiring manager (in this case the CEO/founder) but also the Marketing Director, Operations Director and Business Unit Directors.


Whereas, the Job scorecard is so clear, measurable, and focussed it forces the exec to really think about the top job to be done (in this case Boost International Sales) and measurable results expected from the creation of the role.


It should be clear what the applicant needs to achieve in the business one year from now. Or rather, what’s different about the business in one year as a result of the role.

Things change quickly in a scaling organisation. Competition changes, people changes, market changes, new partnership opportunities. Therefore setting our horizon at one year in the first instance with updates to the Job Scorecard during the planning cycles is a good way to manage roles during scaling.


E.g. Assume the No. 1 outcome for the role 1 year from now is Boost international sales. Then the Job Scorecard may look something like this;


  • Boost sales revenue in South-East Asia and India +25% by Dec 31st 2024

  • Secure 3 new, international distributors by June 30 2024

  •  Grow customers’ orders via distributor network +10% by Dec 1st 2024



Aligning the most important job to be done to move the company closer to it's mission and 1-3 key measurable outcomes beyond the hiring manager avoids the new director being pulled in different directions by other stakeholders and executives, making it impossible to deliver any real change in the business.


Why A-players love Job Scorecards


A-player goals love clear measurable goals. Job scorecards give A-players the information and inspiration they need to apply for the job.


Because Job scorecards are really only focussed on 1-3 clear and measurable results it requires the exec team and hiring manager to think about the ‘top job to be done’ by the role.  


A-players look for this in the Job Ads. Therefore, it is critical that the Job Ad is based on the Job Scorecard.


How the role links to the company’s mission or purpose, growth ambition and how the new role will change the current state and trajectory of the business to achieve that mission is also included, particularly for management roles.


Competencies - not what but how


Think of the Job Scorecard as the roadmap for success in the role for the candidate.


It should also include a section on the top 8-9 competencies needed to be successful in the role (and in the team more broadly).


Competencies outline the way in which the role should be performed.


Some competencies can be developed and learnt overtime with proper coaching and training. While others are more difficult, if not impossible to learn or develop. We need to be conscious of which is which during hiring.


To help us with this, Topgrading has categorised competencies into Red, Yellow and Green. Red is difficult to change e.g. integrity, energy, meaning a new hire cannot be coached in red. Green competencies can be improved with development and training e.g. Customer focus, Organisational skills, recruiting A-players.


In this way, the Job Scorecard also helps us to have more meaningful performance discussions, and design development plans with people to help them to be more successful in the role.



Key Takeaways


  • Job Scorecards are better than vague Job descriptions which are more likely to result in mis-hiring.

  • They align the hiring manager, exec and candidates on the change the role should make to the business in one year.

  • Job scorecards include the top job to be done by the role, how it links to the company’s purpose and growth ambition and the 1-3 measurable results or outcomes.

  • Job scorecards also include 8-9 soft skills required for success in the role in this company or core competencies.

  • Job scorecards form the basis for hiring and performance management and removes chronic underperformance with greater accountability and development plans.


 If you would like to improve your recruitment process in 2024, increase your A-player ratio and avoid costly mis-hires, please reach out to






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