Changing the Hiring Conversation: From Qualifications to Performance

HRHQ Changing the Hiring Conversation

I’ve always found it odd – maybe even dumb – to hire people based on their skills and depth of experience without telling them much about the job until they start. Then to determine if they are good or not after they’re hired, we assess them on their performance doing some job they weren’t assessed on.

To address this obvious flaw in the hiring process, I created this LinkedIn course on integrating performance management into the hiring process. Unfortunately, or so it initially seemed, the course was completed just weeks before ChatGPT become the next big thing.

So the other day I reluctantly asked ChatGPT if the course was already outdated, starting with this question:

How can OKRs and KPOs be used as part of the Performance-based Hiring process when opening a new requisition, and is this a good idea?

You’ll be surprised at the answer. It’s shown below in full form.

What ChatGPT Thinks About Hiring on Performance vs. Skills

Key Performance Objectives (KPOs) and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are both strategic tools that companies use to define goals and measure performance. While they are similar in many ways, they have some subtle differences and can be used effectively in conjunction to enhance the Performance-based Hiring process.

KPOs are specific objectives that are linked to the strategic goals of an organisation. They are measurable, attainable, and should be directly related to what the organisation wants to achieve. In the context of hiring, KPOs can be used to outline the specific outcomes a new hire is expected to accomplish in a role. These KPOs become an integral part of the job description and help recruiters focus on candidates who have demonstrated the ability to achieve similar objectives in their previous roles.

OKRs, on the other hand, consist of a list of 3-5 high-level objectives, and beneath each are 3-4 measurable key results. OKRs are typically set quarterly and are designed to align the efforts of different parts of an organisation towards achieving common goals. When it comes to hiring, OKRs can be used to align the recruitment process with the strategic goals of the organisation.

Now, using both KPOs and OKRs in the hiring process can indeed be a good idea and here’s how:

  • Establish KPOs for the role: Begin by establishing the specific performance outcomes the new hire is expected to achieve. These KPOs should align with the overall strategic goals of the organisation and be specific to the role.
  • Link KPOs with OKRs: Next, consider how the role’s KPOs fit into the broader OKRs of your team or department. The KPOs should support the achievement of key results.
  • Communicate in Job Description: When advertising the role, communicate both the specific KPOs and broader OKRs to give potential candidates a clear understanding of what’s expected in the role and how their work will contribute to the bigger picture.
  • Evaluate Candidates: During the hiring process, use both the KPOs and OKRs to evaluate candidates. Look for candidates who not only have the skills to meet the KPOs but also understand and are excited about the broader OKRs.
  • Post-hiring performance management: After hiring, use KPOs for short-term performance management and OKRs for longer-term strategic alignment. Regularly review and update both as the role and organisation evolve.

In conclusion, integrating both KPOs and OKRs into the Performance-based Hiring process allows for a more strategic and holistic approach to recruitment, ensuring the hired candidate is not only capable of performing their role effectively but also aligns with the larger strategic goals of the organisation.


It doesn’t take much effort to demonstrate that companies can effectively streamline onboarding, accelerate new hire productivity, and foster long-term employee engagement and satisfaction by setting clear performance expectations during the hiring process. But, it seems this gap is one that HR finds difficult to close. Hopefully this ChatGPT advice will now make it easier.

So whether your hiring has slowed down or accelerated, incorporating performance management into the hiring process is a critical strategic step for improving companywide hiring results. This approach enables candidates to align their skills, knowledge, and attitudes with the expected outcomes and key responsibilities of the job from the very start rather than being surprised or disappointed.

Permission has been granted from The Adler Group and Lou Adler, author of Hire With Your Head and The Essential Guide to Hiring & Getting Hired, to reprint this article.

About the author
Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007). Adler holds an MBA from the University of California in Los Angeles and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University in New York.