Three Out of Four Hires Fail—Here are Tips for Beating the OddsJune 1, 2013
Posted to HR.com by Sharyn Orr Maldonado, director of human resources, Petra Risk Solutions
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams famously said that baseball is “the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of 10 and be considered a good performer.”
Maybe not the only one; the same could be said for hiring.
Hiring and retaining the best people is one of the most critical jobs the owner or manager of a company has. In surveys, most rate their success at about one excellent hire out of four. The other three either weren’t a good fit or didn’t have the abilities that their training or resume indicated.
That’s a huge problem. As Jim Collins wrote in his indispensable management book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, getting the “right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats” is the most essential task in business. You can’t train your out of a bad hire, either.
The worst part? While good hires energize those around them, bad hires become energy drains. Bad hires dampen productivity and suck up management time and attention.
Often, it’s not skills or credentials that predict success. What really matters is whether the prospective candidate fits the job. Do they have characteristics that match those of your top performers? It sounds a bit squishy, and yes, hiring may be part art, but it’s also a science. You can assign metrics to the characteristics that make a difference in performance and better predict candidates’ success.
Here are five suggestions to help you hire and retain top performers.
1) Use a structured hiring process that goes beyond resumes and interviews.
We begin by determining the applicant’s basic employability characteristics: integrity, reliability, work ethic, and attitude toward drugs. This assessment helps screen out people who are not likely to perform well or fit our performance culture.
2) Gain an objective understanding of your best people.
We use a normative assessment that measures learning ability, occupational interests and behavioral characteristics. Our top performers embody what success looks like, so we ask them to take the assessment to help us develop a performance model—a benchmark—for that position. The questionnaire reveals personality traits as well as language and math aptitude. We look for a close match between the applicants’ scores and the performance benchmark. You can use the information to coach employees, as well as for promotion and redeployment decisions.