The true cost of a bad hire It’s much more than many em­ploy­ers re­al­ize

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE - BARBARA BOWES

IT’S no se­cret there have re­cently been some very high pro­file and very pub­lic man­age­ment de­par­tures from lo­cal and na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as sus­pen­sions for per­ceived un­eth­i­cal ex­pense claims by a group of se­na­tors re­cruited by their pre­ferred po­lit­i­cal party. To be hon­est, if read­ers had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­am­ine any of these sit­u­a­tions carefully, they would more than likely find that many of these de­par­tures can be traced back to poor re­cruit­ment and hir­ing de­ci­sions. In other words, the wrong peo­ple in the wrong job.

And not only do sit­u­a­tions such as these cause pub­lic re­la­tions night­mares, they cost dol­lars and cents. For in­stance, as we have re­cently seen, the de­par­ture of a se­nior civic of­fi­cial can cost the or­ga­ni­za­tion up­wards of $400,000. Yet, that doesn’t in­clude any be­hind the scenes fi­nan­cial fall­out from ear­lier in­ter­nal staffing shuf­fles, a de­cline in morale and pro­duc­tiv­ity, res­ig­na­tions and de­par­tures from dis­grun­tled staff that wouldn’t be cal­cu­lated in any fi­nal pay­out for a de­part­ing leader. And, it wouldn’t in­clude costs such as con­tin­ued pen­sion and/or health care ben­e­fits some­times awarded to the de­part­ing in­di­vid­ual for a pe­riod of time.

How­ever, on av­er­age, the cost of ter­mi­na­tion for any em­ployee in any or­ga­ni­za­tion can range from three- to five-times an­nual salary with costs in­creas­ing as the level of per­son­nel reaches se­nior lev­els. This in­cludes costs for sev­er­ance, or­ga­ni­za­tional time to re­cruit a re­place­ment, re­cruit­ment and se­lec­tion ex­penses such as ad­ver­tis­ing, can­di­date travel and se­lec­tion com­mit­tee hours, can­di­date train­ing and ori­en­ta­tion and, per­haps, mov­ing ex­penses.

While there are sig­nif­i­cant cost im­pli­ca­tions re­lated to re­cruit­ment and se­lec­tion, or­ga­ni­za­tional lead­ers need to be cau­tious to avoid the fol­low­ing hir­ing mis­takes.

Lack of job role anal­y­sis and up­date — mis­takes are of­ten made by rush­ing to re­place an in­cum­bent with­out as­sess­ing the chal­lenges pre­vi­ously en­coun­tered and as­sess­ing the strate­gic di­rec­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. In many cases, the job de­scrip­tion is not re­viewed, goals and ob­jec­tives are not de­fined and the se­lec­tion cri­te­ria are not up­dated. The re­sult will ei­ther be “same old, same old” and/or a new in­cum­bent will be blind­sided at their first per­for­mance re­view. All in all, fail­ure to con­duct a job anal­y­sis may well lead to another un­suc­cess­ful can­di­date sit­u­a­tion.

In­ad­e­quate se­lec­tion com­mit­tee struc­ture — many or­ga­ni­za­tions lack strat­egy and con­sid­er­a­tion for the im­por­tance of select­ing the best in­di­vid­u­als to sit on a se­lec­tion com­mit­tee. For in­stance, if a com­mit­tee mem­ber is too closely as­so­ci­ated with a can­di­date, then oth­ers will per­ceive ob­jec­tiv­ity to be com­pro­mised, which in turn may im­pact the as­sess­ment of other com­mit­tee mem­bers. In ad­di­tion, com­mit­tees of­ten fail to con­firm their man­date. In other words, who is mak­ing the fi­nal de­ci­sion? Mis­takes are of­ten made when a se­nior de­ci­sion maker not in­volved in the over­all process, steps in and over­rides com­mit­tee rec­om­men­da­tions.

Se­lec­tion cri­te­ria are too vague — many or­ga­ni­za­tions have cre­ated “com­pe­tency pro­files” which are all well and good but many of these pro­files are too vague when trans­lated into se­lec­tion cri­te­ria. Un­less the com­pe­ten­cies are con­crete and mea­sur­able, then in­ter­view­ers have dif­fi­culty as­sess­ing can­di­dates. The re­sult? Poor can­di­date assess­ments and hir­ing mis­takes.

In­ad­e­quate in­ter­viewer prepa­ra­tion — a lack of in-depth com­mit­tee dis­cus­sion prior to in­ter­view­ing of­ten leads to hir­ing mis­takes. Com­mit­tees fail to dis­cuss which com­pe­ten­cies are “must have” ver­sus “nice to have,” they fail to weigh the var­i­ous se­lec­tion cri­te­ria and fail to deter­mine the value and bal­ance of cul­tural fit to the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Fo­cus­ing too much on cul­tural fit ver­sus skills and/or ig­nor­ing cul­tural fit ver­sus tech­ni­cal skills will also lead to hir­ing mis­takes.

Can­di­date screen­ing process is weak — there are many steps re­quired for a com­pre­hen­sive se­lec­tion process and skip­ping any of them can lead to hir­ing mis­takes. For in­stance, fail­ing to pre-screen can­di­date re­sumes leads to wasted time for the com­mit­tee. On the other hand, fail­ing to con­duct tele­phone screen­ing also wastes time and en­ergy. When these steps are ig­nored, se­lec­tion com­mit­tee mem­bers of­ten be­come very time pres­sured and fail to take the time needed for their in-depth in­ter­views.

Weak in­ter­view ques­tions — su­per­fi­cial ques­tions that fail to dig deep into an in­di­vid­ual’s ex­pe­ri­ence re­sult in poor assess­ments and hir­ing mis­takes. In­quiries such as “tell me about your­self” are not linked to job du­ties or com­pe­ten­cies, are too vague and thus a waste of time. If you can’t con­nect can­di­date in­ter­view re­sponses to job skills, goals and ob­jec­tives, then the can­di­date is not the right fit.

Fail­ure to ac­cu­rately as­sess ex­pe­ri­ence — I strongly be­lieve that life/work ex­pe­ri­ence equals ed­u­ca­tional qualifications; how­ever, I find that se­lec­tion com­mit­tee mem­bers of­ten fail to ac­cu­rately as­sess these cre­den­tials. For in­stance, an MBA does not nec­es­sar­ily trump 25 years hands-on busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence. At the same time, the dis­tinct lead­er­ship ex­per­tise re­quired for a sole busi­ness prac­tice and/or a small or­ga­ni­za­tion ver­sus a large bu­reau­cratic or­ga­ni­za­tion is fre­quently ig­nored and/or dis­counted. To put it bluntly, mis­takes are made when the needs of the or­ga­ni­za­tional en­vi­ron­ment are not given care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.

Rais­ing high hopes for in­ter­nal can­di­dates — if you don’t in­tend to se­ri­ously con­sider an in­ter­nal can­di­date, then I be­lieve it’s a mis­take to of­fer them a “cour­tesy” in­ter­view and get their hopes up. Be hon­est and in­form the in­di­vid­ual of your in­ten­tions. Dis­ap­point­ment causes re­sent­ment and ul­ti­mately this em­ployee will leave. This in­ter­nal turnover not only causes a loss of cor­po­rate knowl­edge but also cre­ates the sit­u­a­tion where you will now have two new em­ploy­ees fac­ing a steep learn­ing curve.

Over re­liance on the in­ter­view process — a “one shot” in­ter­view process, es­pe­cially for more se­nior or­ga­ni­za­tional roles is in­ad­e­quate and cre­ates more hir­ing mis­takes than not. If the in­ter­view strat­egy does not pro­vide a can­di­date with a thor­ough re­view of the new job at hand and if the process does not al­low the com­mit­tee to as­sess can­di­dates from a broad per­spec­tive, I guar­an­tee mis­takes will be made. Fi­nally, fail­ure to uti­lize psy­cho­me­t­ric assess­ments to fa­cil­i­tate a comparison to the in­ter­view re­sults also of­ten leads to the higher risk of a hir­ing mis­take.

Cloning or halo syn­drome — in­ex­pe­ri­enced se­lec­tion com­mit­tee mem­bers of­ten fall into the trap of eval­u­at­ing like-minded can­di­dates higher than those that are dif­fer­ent. This cloning syn­drome or “halo ef­fect” leads to per­ceived nepo­tism and re­sults in hir­ing a can­di­date who may not be an in­de­pen­dent thinker. On the other hand, a suc­cess­ful “clone” can­di­date may be too in­de­pen­dent and ig­nores nor­mal or­ga­ni­za­tional pro­cesses with­out fear of reprisal.

Poor or­ga­ni­za­tional re­cruit­ment and se­lec­tion strate­gies that lead to hir­ing mis­takes are costly both from a fi­nan­cial and a pub­lic re­la­tions point of view. On the other hand, can­di­dates who were trapped within the com­pli­cated web of a hir­ing mis­take also of­ten un­wit­tingly suf­fer sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences. In some cases, they may leave only with a bruised ego, but in other sit­u­a­tions, their pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion can un­for­tu­nately be tar­nished and can im­pede fu­ture em­ploy­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.