by Marzenna Almendro
“As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions” – Harvard Business Review
We’ve all heard the stats – the immediate one which comes to mind is ‘the wrong hire can cost you 1.5 to 3 times that person’s annual income’. Nobody ventures out to make a critical faux pas. Work demands, deadlines looming, volumes of emails to sift through, clients to get back to… the work environment offers a perfect culmination to rush those hiring decisions. You may be inclined to trust your “gut” or instinct when making a decision – but I’m sure you in your personal capacity can think of one instance where someone interviewed superbly. However after working with them for some time, things became unstuck. Perhaps they went awol and just did not come back to work; or they did resign, but thanks to their malice, they deleted critical, sensitive company data.
It’s happened to most of us.
But why are these costs so high when making a wrong hire? There are numerous expenses are incurred, such as travel, hotel, meals, training & orientation, psychometric assessments, termination costs, unemployment as well as potential litigation costs, or what about relocation costs? But mostly, hiring the wrong person can put a dent in your cash flow because you need to repeat the entire hiring process again.
Then there are the hard-to-quantify costs which could be detrimental to your business, such as customer dissatisfaction, lost customers, lost sales, low staff morale, reduced quality of products or services, and low production.
The paradox is that although the recruitment should not be rushed, hot talent is only on the market for a short period of time.
The key to making the right recruit is providing a clear description of the job role, understanding not only the obvious skills required, but the softer skills, personality attributes and appropriate culture fit of the candidate to the business.
For more concrete guidance on making those better hires, take heed of our advice:
1. Know exactly who you want. Don’t simply rely on a spec provided by the HR department, and don’t continue to recycle job descriptions. Visualise the ideal candidate or avatar, along with a list of the desired skills, personality characteristics, abilities and cultural fit.
2. Consider what’s not obvious. Don’t only focus on the candidate’s tangible skills, such as their financial ability or capacity to work with excel spreadsheets. Intangibles are vitally important. If a person is not a team player, or has a lower EQ and can’t take heed of constructive criticism, you may have a ticking time bomb on your hands.
3. Connect. Don’t rely on a strong CV, a recruiter’s recommendation, or even if the desired candidate “passes” their pre-selection tests. Have a face to face as far as possible, and trust your gut. Sure it’s not full proof – but you’re no fool. Apply your judgement and discretion when making that decision.
4. Entice. Sure – we may have high levels of unemployment, and you may imagine you are spoilt for choice. However, top performing talent is in high demand, and can probably become quite picky at their next career advancement. As much as it’s your job to interview the prospective candidate (be sure to ask them purposeful questions like this), let them interview you – and then sell them the organisation’s vision.
5. Lastly… utilise all your resources. Time is something that can’t be bought, but remains infinitely priceless. If you don’t have the capacity, resources or TIME to source talent, connect with a professional you trust. Recruiters have earned a rather dodgy reputation of being the ‘tow truck drivers’ of the industry. Recruitment has become a saturated business, where it’s a rush against time. Recruitment consultants may gain a job spec (which they are sharing with multiple other recruiters) and it becomes a race of throwing as many CVs at the client as possible in the hopes that something fits. When working with a Placement Specialist, ensure you have an exact idea of their process, where they source their talent, and their integrity. Are they looking out for your business’s best interests? Or is it just a case of making that placement fee?
The most important asset any business or any organization has is its people. That holds true whether you have a small company or manage a department within a business employing hundreds or even thousands. Taking short-cuts to build your team may ease immediate growing pains but create regrets in the long-term.
The key is to understand that hiring the right candidate takes time, so be patient, develop a comprehensive hiring plan and execute it flawlessly. Remember, no hire is better than a bad hire.
Want more information about our truly unique approach to matching talent to a role? Find out more about Filtred – a first in South Africa – here.
Our contributors collectively boast a wealth of experience in assessments, HR, organisational development, change management and more!