A survey performed by CareerBuilder revealed that 41 percent of companies estimate that a bad hire costs more than $25,000, and 25 percent said it costs more than $50,000. And the higher the position, the higher those numbers become. Besides such costs, which are extraordinarily high—and which can be avoided—there are other contributing elements: ones measured not in dollars but in lost productivity, impact on team morale, and the total time wasted in recruiting, onboarding, and training the new employee. I’m certain there are several other negative factors as well. Many people would agree that an improved hiring process would minimize if not eliminate altogether such avoidable expenses. So, where does the problem lie?
I can see two troubling and basic issues that lead to such a bad outcome. The first is the fact that companies don’t attract qualified and very successful employees because the companies’ job descriptions are off-kilter, simply not spot-on descriptions. Some job descriptions can be so oversimplified and empty that an employed and successful person is not attracted to them because such a person certainly isn’t going to attempt to change from a good situation to an unknown, spottily described one. Other descriptions sound so demanding, complex, elaborate, detailed, and wordy that again, happy and successful employees are not going to venture a change, because they know they are not God-like, that they wouldn’t fit, that they don’t have all the extensively laid-out required qualifications, and that therefore they would not be able to do the job. Now, what are left among those who apply are people who might be in transition and have nothing to lose by applying. Let me hasten to add that I am not implying that people in transition are lesser.
The second issue is with the hiring process. What’s broken here is the fact that there’s not enough preparation done up front, even before the interviewing takes place. The process is typically shoddy, superficial, and like puzzle pieces that do not fit, but still, it gets forced together fast because the replacement was needed yesterday.
The solution is easy: A team of people who are going to interact with the new hire ought to get together and decide on what type of employee they’re looking for. They must be clear about what traits and skills are important for the hired candidate to be successful on the job. Once an agreement is reached on those issues, the interviewing process can start. Once all of the chosen candidates have been interviewed, the hiring team needs to get together and thoroughly discuss each candidate. It is anticipated that if the hiring team performs its job in earnest, the best candidate will be selected. I submit that 90 days after hire, the team should get together again and evaluate the performance of the newly hired person versus what was expected after their consensus meeting on who should be hired. The consensus meeting and the 90-day evaluation put the team in a position to learn more about its own process and make improvements if necessary. Short of that, bad hiring practices will perpetuate, and the cost of hire will remain high. I invite your comments.
by Alex Freund