Magazine Article | March 31, 2015

Hiring Right Might Save Your Job

Source: Life Science Leader

By Roxi Bahar Hewertson, CEO, Highland Consulting Group, Inc.

How often have you hired the wrong person for the wrong job? If you regularly hire people, you’re likely to have missed far more than once. Painful, isn’t it? But you are not alone.

  • FACT 1
    Nationally, about 50 percent of hires fail. Of those that succeed, only about 20 percent are top performers.
  • FACT 2
    Ninety percent of failures are unrelated to technical skills.
  • FACT 3
    The cost of a bad hire is up to two times the person’s annual salary and benefits … until you fire them or they leave. How much you lose depends on how awful they are and how much time, money, and productivity is flushed away in the meantime. Then, add another two times to two and a half times their salary costs to replace them.
  • FACT 4
    Turnover in any position costs you real money. Turnover of good people leaving because they don’t want to work with your bad hires costs you even more.

None of this is good news for you, the hiring supervisor or leader. And none of this is theory; these are all well-researched facts. And yet, we hire most people and positions based on their shiny new (or old) degrees and/or technical skills along with perceived or tested IQ. We now know, for a fact, that EQ (emotional quotient/intelligence) is far more important for success in most jobs and definitely within leadership roles. Yet, incredibly, we continue to hire and promote people, including leaders, largely for IQ and technical skill sets. “The best scientist will surely be the best leader of other scientists.” Right? WRONG!

It just gets dumber and dumber. We keep getting the same lousy results, and yet we have not fundamentally changed the ineffective hiring practices in most organizations. It is mindboggling! I believe Albert Einstein had something clever to say about this phenomenon being related to insanity.

Whatever methods (legal and ethical, of course) you use, you need to discover at least these six key things about your candidates before you hire.

  • ATTITUDE: Is it one of abundance and can-do, or scarcity and focused on obstacles?
  • BRAINS: Can they do the job or learn quickly how to do the job?
  • CHARACTER: What are their core personal values?
  • DRIVE: Are they self-motivated to achieve their goals and yours?
  • EXPERIENCE: What have they done in the past that prepares them or makes them ready for what you want them to do now?
  • FIT: Will they truly fit into your culture and your organizational values and help you accomplish your mission and advance your vision?

If you said “no” or “can’t tell” to even one of these six questions about the candidate, do not hire that person.

Trust the answers to ABCDE and F, and trust your gut. If the person doesn’t feel right to you or others, they probably aren’t right. In any case, it’s rarely, if ever, worth the risk to you and your team.

Hiring right is an art and a science. Smart leaders make the time to take the time needed for learning about and understanding the human being they are inviting into their organization. New hires change the dynamics, impact morale, productivity, and the bottom line, so it surely ought to matter to the leaders to get it right!