“I am a great believer in Luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”—Coleman Cox

It’s true that hard work generally yields better results – or “luck,” as Coleman Cox humorously puts it. But, at least in the area of hiring, there is a necessary precursor to hard work: working smart.

We simply can’t find the best suited candidate unless we have fully clarified the expectations up front. A recruiter can work hard to identify candidates, but unless everyone is in agreement about what the evaluation criteria should be, it will be hard to judge whether one has found a good match. A classic study (“Validity and utility of alternative predictors of job performance”) done by researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed how well job interviews accurately predicted success on the job. They found that a typical interview increases the chances of choosing the best candidate by less than 2 percent. Clearly identifying and interviewing candidates (both hard work) are insufficient to identify candidates that will excel in the position.

At Talencio, we start by working smart. Whether we are helping identify candidates for full-time employment or a project-oriented, temporary assignment, our process starts with clarifying expectations. While some staffing agencies and clients would prefer to get a posting out there as quickly as possible, we find that when we start by clarifying expectations for the position to be filled, we are consistently “luckier” in delighting our clients with excellent candidates.

In working smart / clarifying expectations, we work with the hiring manager, HR representative and others to identify and prioritize the position requirements and the qualifications, traits, characteristic and experience our client is seeking in a candidate. From that initial expectation-clarifying discussion about what our client company is seeking in a candidate, a job description can be written and a salary range set, in concert with the Human Resources department. Every part of the recruitment and hiring process and our ultimate outcome are improved by this initial step of clarifying expectations. Subsequent steps are all performed in the light of that initial discussion to clarify the nature of the successful candidate. Some of those steps are:

  • Plan the interview and follow-up process: determine who will interview potential employees and what attributes should be evaluated by each interviewer.
  • Agree on telephone screening questions.
  • Assign interview topics and behaviorally-based questions to those who will be conducting interviews.
  • Determine whether testing will be used and how the testing challenges relate to the job qualifications.
  • Identify appropriate questions to be addressed in each interviewer’s post-interview candidate assessment. Use a checklist that reflects the most important characteristics identified in your assessment.

Improve your “luck” at finding and retaining superior candidates for your full-time and temporary positions and partner with Talencio. We’re invested in the success of the Life Science industry and we’d like your company to be successful, too. To learn more about how other Life Science companies have partnered with us to overcome hurdles and capacity issues, and make well-informed hiring decisions, contact me at 612.703.4236 or email me at: pnorbom@talencio.com. Talencio, LLC has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Life Sciences community for more than seven years.


Lou Adler. How the Best Hiring Managers Hire the Best People. LinkedIn Pulse, December 29, 2013.

Susan M. Heathfield. A Checklist for Success in Hiring Employees. About Money.

Susan M. Heathfield. Plan Your Recruiting to Ensure Successful Candidate Selection. About Money.

John E. Hunter and Ronda F. Hunter. Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 96(1), Jul 1984, 72-98.

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