I just saw another Gallup report lamenting about the high level of dissatisfaction of the U.S. workforce and blaming most of the problem on hiring managers. I suspect the problem is worldwide.

I don’t agree with their strengths-based solution, however. As far as I’m concerned there’s a much simpler approach: throw away skills-based job descriptions and have hiring managers prepare performance-based job descriptions before ever hiring another person.  A performance-based job description defines the work that needs to be done as a series of performance objectives, not an endless list of skills, experiences and competencies.

Making this shift is necessary if you want to arrive at point “Q” shown in Peter Yu’s cool graph. This is the optimum hiring decision where cost is reasonable, quality is highest, time to fill is short, interview accuracy is about perfect and the job is a great move for the candidate.  “Q” represents the superfecta of hiring where everybody wins: the hiring manager, the candidate, the recruiter and the company.

Once the performance-based job description has been prepared to get to “Q” you next need to classify job seekers into one of these four buckets:

The known: People you know personally.

As long as the job is similar, interviewing accuracy will be high and time to fill fast for people you know who are available. However, they might not be the best people for the job. These people frequently get hired for the wrong reasons; typically the pressure to fill the job is more important than their ability to excel in it.

The semi-known: People who are well-known by people who are well-known to you.

In networking terms these second degree connections are called “weak connections.” This is the sweet spot for top talent. By asking people whom you know, “Who are the best people you know doing (describe the real job)?” you’ll find a few great people. Of course, you’ll need to recruit these people since it’s unlikely they’ll be actively looking for a new job. However, if you can hire these people in a timely fashion AND they find the job a true career move, achieving “Q” is highly likely.

The less well-known: People who are well-known by someone you could get to know.

By connecting to co-workers in your company whom you don’t know, you’ll be able to tap into a huge source of top talent. For example, to find top engineers connect with product marketing managers working in a related field. Using LinkedIn Recruiter you can then search on their connections to “cherry pick” some ideal prospects. Then ask the product managers to qualify the person and ask if the person would find the job a career move. If so, contact and recruit these people. This adds some time to the process but they represent a great pool of talent for achieving “Q.”

The unknown: People who typically respond to job postings who are not connected to anyone in your company.

There are too many unknowns with this group to easily get to “Q.” While you shouldn’t discount the best of this group, don’t spend too much time here since they often take extra time to find and the assessment accuracy is less predictable.

Getting closer to “Q.”

In terms of achieving a state of “Q,” it’s pretty clear that the best candidates are those who are your connections’ connections. However, this doesn’t mean the open job represents a career move for the person. Determining this is the next step in the process.

Maximize job satisfaction and performance.

A career move for any top tier person needs to provide a 30% non-monetary increase. As shown in the graphic this consists of some combination of a bigger and/or more important job, a mix of more satisfying work plus faster growth. None of this can be figured out using traditional skills-laden job descriptions. That’s why you need to define the work as a series of performance objectives.

During the interview dig into the person’s comparable accomplishments to determine if the person can do the work, is motivated by it and if the job offers a 30% non-monetary increase. Obviously if the person can do the work he/she has all of the skills necessary. Using this type of performance-based interview is how you maximize interviewing accuracy, improve job fit and increase quality of hire.

Achieving “Q.”

As long as you first prepare the performance-based job description, finding “Q” is a realistic objective. If you don’t take shortcuts the people you hire will be the best available, highly satisfied and perform at peak levels, while interviewing accuracy will be insane, and you’ll reduce time to hire to the lowest level possible. That’s the superfecta of hiring. You don’t even need to do the math.