Amanda Held on: A psychologist's guide to measuring job performance with human behaviour

Amanda Held on: Measuring job performance with human behaviour

  • 40 minutes
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Ep 28

How do you know you've hired the right person? Naturally, you evaluate the person's performance. But performance is hard to measure. The feedback loop is long and often fragmented. Not to mention, performance is traditionally measured against key results—but what about the role of human behaviour? By tracking an employee's behavioral patterns and core characteristics, can you predict how well they'll perform on the job now and in the future?

On this episode of How We Hire, work performance expert and Licensed Psychologist Amanda Held, shares her insights on effectively measuring job performance. As StoryKit's People and Performance Manager, Amanda's strategic tips will give you a clear framework for successfully assessing your employees and reaching maximum hiring accuracy.

Key takeaways

  • - Why performance is so much more than measuring results
  • - Understanding human behaviour and how it drives job performance
  • - Tips on drawing conclusions from high-performers mentality
  • - Top strategies for ensuring a high level of hiring accuracy

On the show

Amanda Held People and Performance Manager at Storykit
Linnea Bywall
Linnea Bywall Head of People & Operations at Alva Labs

Amanda Held

Amanda Held is a licensed psychologist and an expert In human behaviour. She has an extensive background in the assessments industry, having helped several global companies improve their accuracy and objectivity in their hiring. Before last year, she worked at StoryKit as a People and Performance Manager, where Amanda had the fascinating job of taking performance management to the next level by breaking down performance into concrete behaviours and helping the organisation follow up on these.

Linnea Bywall

Linnea Bywall is a former NCAA athlete turned licensed psychologist – and Head of People at Alva Labs. Linnea was recently listed as one of the most inspiring women in tech by TechRound and was featured as one of the 22 Innovative HR Leaders to follow in 2022 by AIHR Academy to Innovate HR. 

From attracting and hiring to onboarding and growing Alva's employees, Linnea's main mission is to change the world of hiring every day by challenging biases in recruitment.


Show notes 

  • Introduction-1:36
  • What is job performance-4:41
  • How to identify behaviours that drive role succes-6:44
  • Tips on drawing conclusions from high-performance mentality- 9:36
  • How to weigh individual performance with team performance-12:16
  • Mapping the job description framework to how you're measuring job performance-16:55
  • How can managers can work constructively with set performance indictors-20:36
  • Top strategies for ensuring a high level of hiring accuracy-22:05
  • Common obstacles companies face when improving their hiring accuracy-26:50
  • How to define desired skills when crafting a job role-30:48
  • Tips on setting up red flags for candidates who aren't meeting your expectations-36:04
  • Top advice for TAs wanting to start measuring performance and hiring accuracy-47:37

How We Hire Podcast Episode 28 Transcript

Linnea Bywall (00:00):

Isn't this what we all try to do to be super specific on what is it that we need and have I guess, confidence in that it's the right things and then stick to those things in the hiring process because we know it will have consequences. And I think the exactly give, I have another founder that's working with Alvan using our tool. They had the exact same experience where they're like, well, a couple hires in. We are now always making sure that the logic ability is to the level that we anticipate for this specific role because when we deviated, it didn't work out. So we have, even if their C S M could have told them that it's likely that this will be helpful, they experienced it and then have something to really clinging onto, which made it so much easier. Because when you all agree on this are the core aspects, we will not deviate from this. We can deviate from others, but not this. I think it's so much easier.

Linnea Bywall (01:08):

Welcome to How We Hire a podcast by Alva Labs with me, AYA, licensed psychologist and head of People. This show is for all of you who hire or just find recruitment interesting. In every episode, I will speak with thought leaders from across the globe to learn from their experiences and best practices within hiring, building teams and growing organizations.

Linnea Bywall (01:35):

Our guest on today's

Linnea Bywall (01:36):

Episode is Amanda Held. Amanda is a licensed psychologist and an expert

Linnea Bywall (01:40):

In human behavior.

Linnea Bywall (01:42):

She has a

Linnea Bywall (01:42):

Long background from the assessment industry

Linnea Bywall (01:44):

Where she's

Linnea Bywall (01:45):

Helped several global companies improve their accuracy and objectivity in their hiring. Before the last year, she has worked at Kit as a people and performance manager where Amanda has the fascinating job to take performance management to the next level by breaking down performance into concrete behaviors and helping the organization follow up on these. Amanda is the performance expert we all need to hear from. Welcome to How We Hire Amanda. Thank you. So glad to be here. Fantastic to have you here. And I think the topic that we're going to talk about today is obviously performance, how to work with that, but we're going to tie it to hiring because in my mind, all organizations are striving to kind of close the feedback loop and making sure that they hire the right people. Hopefully then by evaluating if we did hire the right people and let that inform who we hire next. But the problem with that is that performance is so hard to measure. The feedback loop is so long when it comes to hiring, you hire someone and then you don't know how they perform until several months later. Let's start from the beginning of what performance is and what you do, but tell us a little bit about your role at Story Kit and what does Kit do?

Amanda Held (03:00):

So KIT is a platform that uses AI to turn any text that you have into high performance with video content. So we're SaaS company a scale up, and as I said, you could use any text and you put it in our tool and that you get a video out of it. So it's like this classical sauce company. And my role, I would say is very fascinated. It comes from the world or the thought of like, okay, so if you look at any sport club, any high performing team, they have coach, they have an in-house psychologist helping the people enough to find the motivation and help them to form. And we're taking that thought into our world, in our tech world. And so my job is to identify what behaviors drive success, try to figure it out on a very, very digital level for each team. And then when we have that, okay, come and understand and we have a framework, then we want to try to find a way of measuring performance as you say, how do we measure those behaviors and performance? And the most important, how could manager, coach and facilitate that people actually do the right behaviors and that they grow within the role. So we're taking performance in that sense. We're talking a lot more about behaviors, the behaviors we want you to do in order to perform.

Linnea Bywall (04:26):

First of all, you have my dream job. Second of all, I think the concept of performance is as we said, vague and wide. So can you just break it down? What is job performance and performance in the world that you're working in?

Amanda Held (04:41):

So of course the ultimate performance, and if you all ask all our manager is to deliver on targets. So okay, we have a sales team. Of course performance in that is to sell well, but everyone knows that and it doesn't really help the individual that much to say like, okay, so you are a good performer if you sell. Well, I mean that's so obvious. So what we are trying to do is also to break down for us performance is to do this kind of behaviors. If you do that, and if you do it in a consistent long-term, you will reach a good performance. So we try to more focus. We try to encourage the behaviors rather than the actual, okay, you reach your target. Of course that is something to celebrate as well, but also to try to celebrate more the behaviors that we think will lead you to the performance. Because then as you say, it could be multiple reasons why a person doesn't perform or why we're not selling or why your products down, et cetera. So it could be really hard for the individual to feel like, okay, I understand what I should do or I feel motivated because it might be microeconomics that affects you, but rather than to focus on what behaviors do I need to do?

Linnea Bywall (06:00):

And this is I guess why it is really hard and complex to talk about performance because it differs for different roles. You need to get to that nitty gritty level to really have something that's helpful for the individual and the team. And I guess if we link that to hiring, that's why it's so hard to set the right job description because we need to capture so much. So we have to be vague, but that also moves away from the concrete. What is it that you need to do? I would love to pick your brain on how do you identify these behaviors? What is crucial for high performing teams? How do you find out?

Amanda Held (06:44):

So we try I deep down really deep into each team. So that's a very L task. I try to live and breathe their job. So I sit down, I do analysis of their team meetings. What did you do? I try to piggyback. We have this meeting recording tools. So I watch a lot of meetings and the people that actually when we get the nice, I try to understand what did we do, how could we get that sign, et cetera. Or we have a person that been delivering really good from onboarding, how could I understand that? And for some cases we can find the answers already in our assessments data. I mean that's the ideal. We see the people that are performing, they often have of course a high fit to our role profiles. But it can also be that I interview a lot of people and say like, okay, when you really feel like you're performing well, when you're doing those behaviors, what happens?


How could I understand? So I try to work very tightly in both talking a lot with the teams, talking a lot with the manager, okay, we're having a down period. Why is that? What is the behavior missing? What would we like to add? But also to look at more like data and say like, okay, so we have this amazing salesperson who's delivered solid each month. What does he or she does? How could we pick that person brain? Is it something that is unique for that market or could we take it to other markets? So I would say it's fairly intense work and it demands quite high presence in the team, but it's also super interesting to be able to deep dive.

Linnea Bywall (08:35):

What I find interesting here is that when you talk to a lot of good recruiters or a lot of CHROs or head of talents that really have, they often mention that the aspect that makes the biggest difference is if you're very close to the business, if you really understand what's happening. I think this is such a good example of how you can understand the business and really take that to the next level. It is about tagging along to many things. It is about analyzing the KPIs, but also understanding what behavior takes you to the result and the KPIs. So it sounds like super data driven from different sources, both hardcore business KPIs, recruitment KPIs, interviews and I guess coding of behaviors that you're watching. Yeah,

Amanda Held (09:25):

Yeah, definitely mapping and coding, definitely.

Linnea Bywall (09:29):

When you have you sit there with all these information, what do you do next to draw conclusions based on it?

Amanda Held (09:36):

I do this mapping, as you say. I try to create a framework which is to boil everything down and to make it as extensive as it needs to be, but still as slim. So we can also, or I can get a buy-in from the manager, the people working the team. It doesn't really matter that I sit on, okay, so I have mapped the key behaviors like this and this and this. They really need to feel like, okay, these are behaviors that I feel motivated of doing. Might be hard. I'm not maybe doing all of them, but I understand that they will more likely drive me to the performance I want to do. So it's a lot to do, create the framework, but then also to sell it to them and to have them understand. And often that is quite easy because they know that I've been involved.


I don't create anything from scratch. I take what I see and I try to frame it, but that makes us have a common language moving forward. And then we also try to say that this is set for now in two months time we need to change most likely, but we need also to have some kind of stickiness. Okay, so as you say, okay, when we going to recruit, we're going to use this as our framework. We think right now these are the things. So we both need to be flexible and seeing, okay, this is what it is for now. It might change, but we also need to know, have every commit done. Okay, these are the things we need to do.

Linnea Bywall (11:12):

And that speaks well to the sports metaphor. I have a background in track and field, so I ran a hundred meters for instance, and the 200 meters. And obviously you can't focus on everything and you can't improve on all aspect at once. You need to boil down to what's the current status, what are the most important aspects I need to work on and take I guess one thing at a time. And then that will maybe when I've nailed how I draw my first arm from the starting blocks when I really understood that, then two months later, as I say, it will be something else I need to focus on. It might be the finish. Yeah. So I think that speaks well to how you compare your job to a sports coach. One other thing I think is interesting here. You mentioned you look at the Fulton, but you also mentioned, oh, that salesperson, that's really a high performer. How do you weigh performance information from individual versus group? What do you think is most important to focus on? I

Amanda Held (12:16):

Think it's interesting to have both. I do think it's very dangerous to just look at one person and say this is the way we should do. Because I mean there could be so many different circumstances, especially for us working in a very international environment. So that particular salesperson might have a market that is unique for that person. I also think it's a bit different or dangerous when you try to copy too much of like, okay, so this person is doing this and this and then I can see a tendency in our salesperson, they try to make their personality something they're not or something so they can them as a bit unnatural. So I try to, as I say, I think of course we should be inspired. We should look at people like, okay, this single individual is doing something good, but we also need to look at it.


Okay, but what is it? Is it this and this behavior? Or is it the market? Et cetera. So I try to combine those of course, but I think it needs to be more than just one person. So we try to find trends and especially also since we work in different markets, we need to find something that is a bit universal for all. So okay, behavior concerning structure that would be super important for all. Okay, how could we work for everyone to create more structure? And then for some persons it might be more needed than for some, but it's still needed for everyone.

Linnea Bywall (13:47):

So it sounds like finding the smallest common denominators between what works for a lot of people and then enforcing those behaviors. Yes,

Amanda Held (13:56):


Linnea Bywall (13:57):

I think to make it even more concrete, can you give some examples? I know that you worked with your citizen, but maybe even other teams. What were some of the behaviors that you found impacted performance so that people can steal these for their job descriptions? Yeah,

Amanda Held (14:11):

Definitely. So we're taking, I would say a fairly broad perspective. So we have both activities within for our most junior sales role, our sales development representative. We also find an area to drive your own development as a key. We can see that the person that leverage both within the role but also in the company are people that actually are curious, try to always alternate the way they work, listen to others. So I would maybe say that's more like a soft skill or a behavior that you try to make yourself better. But it could also be, as I said, creating structure to start today. These classical things start today with to-do list, what should I prioritize, what could I do tomorrow, what should I do? Today we're talking a lot about having the high activities. So start the morning by having high activities. So you don't have a tendency of continuing to do a lot of behaviors.


So if you start the morning meeting by being active, raising your hand, comment on the colleagues comments, et cetera, you're more likely to keep that activity up when you're entering your customer meetings, so to say. So it's one part that is a lot about keeping structure the way working, driving business. But then we can also build for our customer success team for example, we have a lot of focus on create a relationship with the customer, create stickiness. How do you do that? I mean for some it comes supernatural, but we would like to have the framework that could help everyone. Okay, what are behaviors that we tend to do that creates a relationship? So we try to help and look at it in multiple ways. So both performance in the sense of driving the business or driving towards your K P I, but also shipping into the team, develop yourself, have a transparent dialogue, stuff like that.

Linnea Bywall (16:17):

To summarize it, the Ss d r role at story kit at list, but likely some of these things are transferable to other organizations. It sounded like success criteria are constantly learning and changing and adapting. One other one was keeping a high level of structure. You mentioned starting your day with a to-do list. And then the final one was having that high activities like bias for action almost. If we take that specific example, how do you let those three examples now that you shared inform your future hiring?

Amanda Held (16:55):

So I would say that's the key in both a future hiring in our return of process. So now we have the framework. We know, okay, we need to have people that are both able to follow ways of working. We want to have people that could improve, that could be trustworthy, et cetera. So what we do then is to rebuild our recruitment process based on those. So which try, okay, we know that these things are key. How could we measure them already in the recruitment process? How could we communicate also in our recruitment process? So it's really clear for the person stepping into, okay, these are the things that the job is about, these are the behaviors that I will practice that I would try to develop in order to do the job as possible. We'll use the framework and then we try to say, okay, what kind of assessments do we need in order to measure them? And then as you know, we try also to narrow it down so we don't measure everything in the first interview or in the case or what is, so we try to, okay, maybe it's good for our first interview to focus on could you follow our ways of working? Could you find a structure and then try to identify that in the candidates.

Linnea Bywall (18:09):

What are the biggest changes that you've done to your SS D R hiring process based on the initial findings when you work closely with the team and their performance?

Amanda Held (18:18):

I would say, I mean we had a really nice recruitment process already, but I would say adding just more structured to the process. And I think we also have the sense of we recruited a person that maybe had a really strong drive or we could see excelling in the company, but we had a problem with people staying to the actual role. So actually more drawing the attention, but we're hiring you for this role. What is needed to perform in this role rather than maybe before hiring just this amazing person who has a good energy, but most likely will and the employment because they're not so fitted to just this role. So both creating this framework, so both me manager to know what exactly should we assess, but also more drawing it to this is the job that this person is actually going to do is a good fit. And then, I mean it's a big, big plus if there's a person that could grow within the company, but it's more essential that it actually thrive in that role because if it doesn't, it will have no chance of excelling further on.

Linnea Bywall (19:38):

Such a good example of how the hiring process is both about assessing, defining the right candidate, but also about setting the right expectation and kind of managing people where you need both to be successful.

Amanda Held (19:52):

Definitely, yeah. And I think the framework has helped managers communicate more clear in the recruitment process. So we have identified these four areas, what do you think about that? Could you sign up for that? So just also help us to find the best match on both sides when we could be more clear.

Linnea Bywall (20:13):

I think that's both interesting and fascinating and so many levels. And to dive into the manager example, how has this work made life maybe harder but also easier for a manager when they know that these are the performance indicators? How do they act on that?

Amanda Held (20:36):

I would say most manager are super grateful and they feel like, wow, this is original a support for me. It makes me so much clearer. We have a common language, we can base our performance reviews, we can tailor our recruitments. So I think most manager are just ticking the framework and wow, this is amazing. I can also see a danger in it. We had some cases when they're like, but this is not in the model. How should I know? It's like, yeah, okay, this is not in the model, so we need to have both thoughts in mind at the same time. So this is something that we have that we see. So I think at the start, most manager are super thrilled. It's very welcomed, but then of course puts a lot of demands on them to also change a bit in their focus because they're so used to just clapping and sharing when we get that meeting booked or we get that sell or we're expanding a client, what it is. So we also, I mean it demands them to be more present in the day-to-day job to also see those small behaviors and also practice them to reinforce them.

Linnea Bywall (21:50):

Okay. So maybe we've already covered this, but repeat or maybe slightly different, but could you share some key strategies that you and use at KIT to ensure a high level of hiring accuracy?

Amanda Held (22:05):

So what we have done, as I said, we had put a lot of focus in trying to understand what drives success, what kind of persons actually thrives, and then it's of course also to include do retros and try and what people don't thrive, what people actually quit before. So I think a lot of the work has done to just understand that has been a key thing. But then as I also mentioned, to tailor as much as possible of the recruitment process to actually measure those kinds of things and to know when are we measuring what we have the assessment tool, what kind of information do we get there? What kind of information do we need to add on, et cetera. So just to create a structure for the manager I think has been super, super crucial. And as I said, also to communicate. So actually when we get the sign, we know that the candidate also understand as much as possible about the job, about the role, about how will a day look like for you. So we are more likely to get the person that are board that fits, that has the potential to do the job in a good way, but also sign up for the journey and sign up for the role.

Linnea Bywall (23:22):

And I think mean as we kind of said in the beginning, this feels like job description on drugs, but I have to ask because you have to start with one team and then take the second team, second team. Was it first? Are you done with all the teams?

Amanda Held (23:38):



It has taken so much longer than I thought at the beginning. And it's also due or thanks to I would say our C E O who really pushes me to do it really super ambitious, super high quality. Well, I have the tendency of, okay, next team, he's like, oh no, we really need to set the structure before moving on. I've been here for 14 months. I've done three teams so far, which is of course our biggest terms. I would say it's one that is not done, which is super big as well that we need to do. And then we have smaller teams. So we'll see how much time and effort we'll put in that.

Linnea Bywall (24:23):

How frustrating is it for you and the managers where you haven't gotten to those teams that see how does that affect the lunchroom engagement in the conversations?

Amanda Held (24:37):

Yeah, it's bit frustrating. And you can also see that it's needed in all the departments and then they're like, okay, we would like to have a performance review or we would like to tweak our recruitment process. And then I'm like, yeah, we're going to do that. We're going to do it super nice, but you have to wait in four months time. So it's a bit frustrating that our whole idea, we're doing it really high quality, we're doing it so much my time in it, but then it's also then a period where they're like, okay, so something amazing is happening to the other teams and they're saying this and this and this. It's amazing. Could I just get it now? And it's like, no, no, you can't. So as you say, it's frustrating. I think it's a lot of things that the manager wants until they're also asked to put in their own time. They're all resources that they're like, oh,

Linnea Bywall (25:34):

Can to do it for me. Because I mean that was another question was were everyone as happy and desirable for this outcome in the beginning, the first team,

Amanda Held (25:46):

No. And I would say the first team was the big Guinea pig team. So they were also a lot that I was creating as we were doing things super grateful for those managers because they were so patient. But as you say, for some manager they have the day-to-day business that is the most important. You really have to tease them with something like, okay, so our recruitment process will actually be built on this. We will have a higher accuracy, how much time it takes to onboard this will help us in that. So you really need also to tie this work that we do to their actual output and how it makes their life each easier in four months time, so to say.

Linnea Bywall (26:30):

So always linking it to the outcome, the value, the business outcome for them. That makes a lot of sense. And I think one aspect you say here is that it takes time. What would you say are common challenges, obstacles that companies do face when they try to improve their hiring accuracy?

Amanda Held (26:50):

Maybe they try to do it too much in two different way and maybe not have a structure.

Linnea Bywall (26:57):

In my mind, it's also about that it takes so long and I mean to the way that you've described it, it's super complex to get it really right. And therefore it's almost like, well, I can't do what Amanda's doing because I don't have the time or resources or buy-in for my CEO O or whatever. Or it's just like, if I can do that, yeah, it's I going to make a hard, but then what's the lightweight version? Is it accurate enough? Is it even worth doing it? And then I think another final one is it takes so long when I hire person A, they have a notice period from their current company. So they start in two, three months and then they're onboarding for a couple of months and then we don't really see the accurate performance several months later. And then I've already hired five new people to that team. So it's almost like a holy grail to have that feedback loop that's accurate, valuable enough, but that's also possible to work with, I dunno, what do you think?

Amanda Held (28:05):

Definitely you shouldn't make it too big because then you have a tendency of not doing anything. But I think as you say, to try to identify some kind of core in each role and to make sure, do we actually measure that core? When I stepped into one role, we had a lot of, or I thought was a big problem that we couldn't have an internal movement because every candidate had done a certain case, they failed and they were like, no, this person is not good enough. And I was like, could I see the case? What do we actually measure? And then we measured more go to market salesperson who could really first in you're cracking the market and this was not close at all to what this person was going to do. So I was like, okay, so we're giving them a case with really, really, really high bar and we feel like they're failing, but when actually they're going to do the job, it's a whole different role.


So we actually remade this case of, okay, but what are expected for this role? So I think that is something quite common that you create a process, you pre-create perhaps a case and then it leaves on further along, but it's not relevant anymore because now we have already three people who already opened this market, so this will more join in. It doesn't have to have a lot of new ideas because we know what to do. So you have to be really good at that rather than create things I think super valuable, identify what is exactly done for this job and then to try to, do we measure that or no, maybe you need to have a multiple case for the same role because it differs between the market or junior, senior, et cetera. So you can't just have one process and think like, okay, so we set this and now we can use it three years by default. So I think that's important. What information do I get from this and this is the right information that I need.

Linnea Bywall (30:11):

So it always boils down to these are the core aspects of the role. Do we measure that? Do the manager work with that? Do we set the right expectations based on those? So having that as foundation and speaking of these core aspects of a role, how can you define these desired skills? The question is twofold that both in the really accurate way when you have a lot of time also then what are the hacks so you can get there faster when you don't have the opportunity to do everything that you're doing.

Amanda Held (30:48):

I mean you can get a lot of help from your tools. From what we know about personality big five, we know some things that are like, okay, these are traits that most likely will help us to get a good person on board. So I mean there are a lot of existing knowledge that you use. If you use consci consciousness, then you will build probably good off. And I think it's one challenge that I've seen in our organization and I'm sure others that the wishlist is super long, but then when you really try to, but is this very important? Maybe not. Okay. I mean you could really try to cut it down. I think that it makes life so much easier because then it broaden the scope. Okay, do we really need to have a university degrees to our most junior roles? Maybe not, but it shows some kind of drive. But you could also have the drive without the university degree. Let us skip that. Let's try so as you said, try to narrow it down and to identify, but this is really key. We've seen before if you don't have that, that will not be good. And then you could stop there. You could like, okay, let's just find those three or four things rather than try to find these 20 things.

Linnea Bywall (32:17):

So the hacks are listening in or leaning against existing research. And given that we come from similar backgrounds, I guess just to state the, maybe not obvious for everyone in fact here, but research shows where if you measure traits such as conscientiousness and logic ability, those are the two general traits that are often helpful in most type of jobs. So leaning on that is one hack. And then I think the other one, at least what I take with Yumi from your describing it is questioning what's the actual behaviors that you want from the expectation that you set. For instance, the diploma, the university degree, is it the degree in itself or what is it that you think that you measure with it? I think that's a great question. Well no, it's drive great. Then let's measure drive. Let's not measure the degree in itself. I think that's a good question to have in your back pocket to take in a startup meeting with a manager or something like that.

Amanda Held (33:25):

Definitely. And I mean that's what I see when I've done this framework. I mean it's nothing. We use our words. We use a framework that our employees can relate to, but I mean it doesn't bring like, wow, this is revolutionary. You need to have a structure day in order to perform. It's like, yeah, we knew that. We knew that. That's quite common sense, but it's something strengthening also about they've been telling their story, we've been putting our words in it, but as you say, there are so much research going on or have been done that you can also lean on.

Linnea Bywall (34:02):

I think that is an interesting aspect because having worked in the assessment industry where if you have a good test provider for instance, those tests will be based on research evidence that's very, very well documented. But there's something that happens that you sometimes almost need that internal evangelist to make people believe in it. But as soon as you can translate it into your own words, we've proven that it works for us. It makes such a big difference. And even if you come to the exact same conclusions, I think that's one of the reasons in the us a lot of organizations will use assessment and personality test and they will roll that out by doing a validation study. You can almost wave the proof in the faces of the skeptics where it's more of a leap of faith to just start using it. I think there's something interesting in, I've sat down, I've done the coding of everyone's behaviors. We're using the language that you can relate to, even if it's still like, yeah, I have a structured day and that might be obvious, but maybe it wasn't obvious. And out of all the things we do, you can still lift that up and show that it's something special.

Amanda Held (35:24):

And as you say, they believe in me, they have faith in the process. And then when you say that, they're like, yeah, wow, structured day. But if they just hear it from somewhere else, they're like, yeah, it doesn't really relate to me. So to feel that connectedness,

Linnea Bywall (35:39):

Yeah, so powerful. Okay, Amanda, let's talk red flags. So say then let's picture the scenario that we've done the proper analysis. We know the core competencies, we measure those in our hiring process. What are indicators, red flags that can help like you and the team to kind of determine if a candidate will be successful or not?

Amanda Held (36:04):

So I find it super interesting to because we're also recruiting in a market where it's something sometimes lack of candidate, maybe we could not always pick or we could pick, but we have to make adjustments on something. And I would say for us, especially in some roles, of course the logical ability is really big lag. We still, if we go lower on that level level, it will be difficult because the role is so complex. So we try for some role be really, really strict. And it's also really good learning, especially for manager when we have done for instance, okay, so this person is not a structure, she doesn't score high on consci consciousness, for example. And then I'm like, okay, I wouldn't go for this, but I mean it's your choice. And then we found out after a while, okay, this was not the best match.


So I think in some cases you as a manager also need to experience. So we already saw the right red flags in the recruitment process, done this. We know that these things are important. And of course there you should always believe in people there. You could be surprised, but it's also so powerful to let the person see it with their own eyes. But wow, you really need to score high on the logical ability test or you really need to have consciousness because otherwise it can be this consequence. So I would say the red flag is when something is really off

Linnea Bywall (37:46):

On those core aspects that you've identified.

Amanda Held (37:49):

So we have this poor thing that is super important, and if you don't match those, I think it could of course be great, but most likely it will be better if we have a match.

Linnea Bywall (38:02):

This gives me proper talent acquisition butterflies in my belly because isn't this what we all try to do to be super specific on what is it that we need and have I guess confidence in that it's the right things and then stick to those things in the hiring process because we know it will have consequences. I think the exactly give, I have another, it's a founder that's working with Alban using our tool. They had the exact same experience where they're like, well, a couple hires in. We are now always making sure that the logic ability is to the level that we anticipate for this specific role because when we deviated, it didn't work out. So we have, even if their C S M could have told them that it's likely that this will be helpful, they experienced it and then have something to really clinging onto, which made it so much easier. Because when you all agree on these are the core aspects, we will not deviate from this. We can deviate from others, but not this. I think it's so much easier.

Amanda Held (39:12):

And as you say, it's so much easier when they have a person connected to it. You could say research the likelihood, but when you can actually name, when we hired this person and it turned out that let's not go there, and they're like, oh no, let's not go there.

Linnea Bywall (39:28):

Yeah, no, I think that's a powerful experience when you were the one having to deal with something, not working out, maybe even seeing other great team members live because of that. I mean, yeah, it's really, really powerful. And then I think it's worth talking a little bit about hiring accuracy and hiring for performance and then culture fit. How do you balance those two? Do you focus on only performance or is the other one important?

Amanda Held (40:03):

We do have both aspects. Definitely. It's very interesting, I would say to higher focus, cultural fit. I would say our organization is in this, we're evolving, we're growing. So it's also a bit hard to put the fingers down and say, this is our culture. So it could also be, I think it's a bit dangerous to say this is a culture fit because yeah, it's cultural fit for us today. In half a year we'll be a different company. So it could also be tricky and in both ways, we could also build that we're hiring a person that has more a fit for a bigger organization that we aim to build. And then we think like, okay, so this person will add on a more mature company ways, so to say. But then it's very important that they also like the journey and to be transparent. Okay, so we're aiming to be here in one year, we're not there.


Would you find it's okay? So yeah, we try to evaluate both. I would say both the performance in the role, how likely are you to be a good star at our team, but also of course, will you be a fit to our company? I think if I look back, we've been focusing a lot about being a fit to the company. So we have a lot of people who are amazing together because we're so convenient with each other. We're so alike, we're super extroverted. But maybe that's been more of the focus than actually doing the job performing, enjoying the ride and the journey forward. I think we need to have both, but I think it's also dangerous to focus too much on the fit because as I said, we're changing so much. So you'd rather have a person that it's a bit more agile or have openness for example, because it will change.

Linnea Bywall (42:01):

But honestly, that's something I think I have been poor at in my role, just to state that the culture will change with the journey that you're on. Maybe it will change less if you're this massive company with thousands and thousands of employees and really set processes and all of that. But probably will change there too, because the culture is so built by the people that are, I mean, it's the people that creates it, and I think just stating that is so important and something that I know that I need to do a lot better. So that's a good reminder. So I mean we've kind of tippy toed around the concept of hiring KPIs and how do we measure hiring accuracy and all of that. So what role does data analytics play here when it comes to measuring and evaluating hiring, actually accuracy. How do you do it?

Amanda Held (43:00):

It's super interesting. I mean, we're fairly small. We're 120. So I would say of course if you have hiring hundreds, it's more easy to lean on data. Now also when I look at our dataset, it could be a team of 30, we don't really get those significant results that you could withdraw a lot of information from. We try to track of course, length in role as we suggest one indicator because as I said, we're trying to shift and try to say, okay, we really want hire person who wants to do this role and to do that amazingly. And then it's a bonus if the person can grow, but if it doesn't want this role in the first case, it won't succeed and it will definitely then not be up for an internal promotion. So length in the role is something that we look at.

Linnea Bywall (43:54):

Do you have an idea of or a target for how long you will see? What's the success here? Is it one year, two year, five years, 10 years?

Amanda Held (44:05):

So it's different from the different roles. In our most junior sales S D O role, we have approximately 10 months as like, okay, if you stay 10 months and you're delivering, well, we're happy. And then if a person wants to stay two year, we are thrilled. But we have that like, okay, if we manage to have you up and running that you delivered that you're for 10 months, then we can also look at other internal movement or something for the more senior roles. I would say we haven't defined it that clear, but it's of course longer. Then it's like, okay, we would like to have a person who enjoyed this role for at least two years, otherwise it's not a good recruitment for us. We also try of course to measure and try to understand when we have a person ending before six months. So either on there that they didn't like it or that we end before the probation is done.


So we try to there really analyze what happened here. We look at test results. Could we, did we derail from what we actually said, yes or no? We try to, of course to do, we do excess talks of course to try to extend what was the reason. And in some cases it was like, no, I got into this university program that I really wanted to take or I got this green offer. I understand, but in most cases you could find things to learn. So that is definitely a metrics we look at as well. People stay longer than six months, for example.

Linnea Bywall (45:47):

That's so interesting. I think the way that my definition here at Alvis is a lot more vague, where in our talent strategy we have, you're supposed to be here for four years and during those four years you're supposed to have at least two roles. That's the aim or the average aim. Then obviously we would like some people to retire, but it's in reality there will also be people that stay here for a lot shorter time period. But I like how defining it for each and every role or department can be a lot more edgy and helpful than that my vague four years. I think that's super interesting.

Amanda Held (46:29):

Yeah, because I guess everything relates to the onboarding. How long does it take until they're ramped and when do we actually get the output we want from them? And the same as the other had. But I mean, that's amazing. I mean, our company's just five years, so to have that, we would like you to say four years. I think it's a strong signal as well to their employees. That's what we aim for. We want to create this good work environment that you want to stay at least for four years. That's a nice signal to them as well.

Linnea Bywall (47:03):

We could talk for hours, and as I said, your job sounds like my dream job, even though I also have my dream job. But still, if I ever need a second dream job, I would come hang out with you. Amanda, before we say hoe and goodbye, just trying to sum up what we've talked about or sending our listeners off with some sort of takeaways. What would you recommend if someone wants to start measuring performance, hiring accuracy, what would be your advice to them?

Amanda Held (47:37):

I would say to start identify what is the core in this role. So try to be, and I mean it doesn't have to be super ambitious, just have to be that much time. It could be you sitting down, try to map out, okay, when people are doing A, B, C, I think they're doing amazing. Get some kind of feedback on that from the team or for the manager and to create some kind of foundation and then to reflect how could we measure that? How could we see, okay, which persons does it, which person does, and what kind of KPIs do they affect, et cetera. So try to create a common understanding of what kind of things drives performance for us. And then as I said, also try to back to make it reflect in recruitment, but if these are the most important, how do we evaluate it?


How do we measure it, and in what steps, et cetera. So I think that is the core to really and make it, I mean, some people does that on a company level. I think it's important to do on a role level, and as you say, it gets more like a road description, but just to identify what are the actual core things that you need to do or that is good for you to do in order to perform. And of course then the second, which is super challenging, but also so important, how could we measure it? How could we see? How could we find, okay, we are really doing these behaviors, or we are really doing these performance metrics.

Linnea Bywall (49:07):

That's a great way to end this very, very interesting conversation. Thank you so much for joining How we hire Amanda. It was an absolute pleasure. Yeah, and I guess talk to you soon because this is a topic that will always ongoing.

Amanda Held (49:22):

Thank you so much.

Linnea Bywall (49:23):

Bye Bonnie. Bye bye.