If you've hired enough, you've felt the pain of what I call "missing". You did everything you should have done in the hiring process, got feedback from others so you didn't make a hiring call in a bubble, ran the behavioral interview and probed.
Nice job. So why did that new hire turn out to be a dud?
So what can you do to reduce the number of times you miss? You can make sure your interview attempts to measure what's important in the job, provide a realistic job preview, get more people involved, etc.
You could also have them do a live exercise with you to see how they react to real world conditions. You could even have them work a full day for you in the role they'll perform before you make an offer.
Is that possible? Seth Godin thinks it is:
"There are no one-on-one-sit-in-my-office-and-let’s-talk interviews. Boom, you just saved 7 hours per interview. Instead, spend those seven hours actually doing the work. Put the person on a team and have a brainstorming session, or design a widget or make some espressos together. If you want to hire a copywriter, do some copywriting. Send back some edits and see how they’re received.
If the person is really great, hire them. For a weekend. Pay them to spend another 20 hours pushing their way through something. Get them involved with the people they’ll actually be working with and find out how it goes. Not just the outcomes, but the process. Does their behavior and insight change the game for the better? If they want to be in sales, go on a sales call with them. Not a trial run, but a real one. If they want to be a rabbi, have them give a sermon or visit a hospital."
Target practice with live ammo - I like it. I've always included some type of inbox with a lot of the positions I've filled on my team. Seth's thoughts take it to the next level. Not role play, but live action.
To get there, you need to get yourself, your team and the candidate to understand that the work included in the process is a contracting/consulting opportunity. For a 60K job, one day's work equates into about $250 in cost. About the cost of a posting on Monster....
That seems cheap for what you get in return.