Mark Murphy’s Hire for Attitude reports that of the 20,000 new hires he tracked “46% of them failed within 18 months. But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill. The attitudinal deficits that doomed these failed hires included a lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.”
It’s clear that relying on traditional transactional systems has demonstrated significant shortcomings — and that their logic forces companies into spending a fortune (direct and indirect costs) on bad hires: ” The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the first year’s potential earnings.”
Breaking Out of the Bad Hiring Machinery
Breaking out of the bad hiring machinery is much easier than you think. Here are five simple steps you can take today:
Reduce your dependency on transactional systems: Do not wait till the last minute to fill jobs. Do not assume that filling a job vacancy is akin to replacing a part in a washing machine or that people are mere cogs in the industrial machine. You will be entirely dependent on automated filtering of job seekers — and you already know the poor results. Good people can’t get jobs and your chances to find the right skills, let alone your ability to evaluate candidates for attitude, are limited.
Build your talent network: Expand your pre-recruiting practices and include a candidate courting process. As you know “close to 80% of today’s professionals may be considered passive candidates,” something you can see on a striking infographic by LinkedIn. In short, you must actively build your private talent network of passive candidates. Each time there is a job opening in your company, you can leverage semantic job matching to check if you already have the right person in your talent pool.
Do not ask people to “apply” the minute when they are interested in you: The transactional approach consists in posting a job and asking candidates to fill application forms. Up to 90% of the candidates you attract may drop off, which means that you are left with a smaller selection! Instead of posting a job and asking for a resume, post a short questionnaire related to the job, assign scores to the responses and have people to quickly join your network using their social login. This mechanism will drive candidates from your social pages directly into your talent network, where you can sort candidates by scores and engage with the best performers. You may be able to identify a great person, somebody who may have a “jagged resume” that you would never found via the traditional acquisition process, but is what George Anders calls the “rare find,” the candidate that will not only get the job done, but also advance your company.
Engage via live video and webinar: The benefits of video interviewing are well known. Leverage the ability to organize live video discussions with small groups of 6 to 8 people around a topic or a job. A joint research study by the Harvard Business School & Harvard Kennedy School has established the benefits of group evaluation/discussions: “New research suggests that organizations wishing to avoid gender stereotyping in the hiring or promotion process–and employ the most productive person instead—should evaluate job candidates as a group, rather than one at a time.” This is the best environment to make out actual leaders from self-proclaimed leaders. Of course, take advantage of webinars: you will be able to see who shows up, how candidates contribute and if they mean it when they say they love your company!
Measure, measure, measure: Bad hires are primarily bad or inadequate candidates. Think: they were selected by your filtering systems, not by you, and their references were not that helpful (former employers or colleagues often won’t tell you that your coveted candidate is a hopeless fraud or a pompous dork…) So, the only solution is to manage candidates, which means having access to this candidate’s full history of interactions with your company: her participation in your events (video discussions, webinars), and her actual use of your network (for example: did she read your blog posts and share them with her friends?). A good candidate is a candidate about whom you have reliable behavioral data.
Breaking out of the bad hiring machinery is ultimately starting a scalable relationship-based hiring methodology and adopting a system that provides you with real analytics on both how you engage with candidates and, even more importantly, how candidates engage with you. Data do not lie! Companies now have employee performance systems. Candidate performance is equally important to hire for both aptitude and attitude and proactively reduce the financial burden of bad hires.