The Bad Hiring Decision Is Worse Than None At All

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The Bad Hiring Decision Is Worse Than None At All

Re-blogged from Information Week: WallStreet & Technology

Author: Andrew Waxman

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Managers need to make sure they make good hiring decisions, or they risk long-term damage to their entire group.

How important is it to make good hiring decisions? Particularly when it is a strategically significant hire, hardly anything is more important. The risk or downside of bad hires, however, tends to be consistently underestimated, or discounted completely. Typically firms are more focused around the risk of not hiring and of lacking the resources to enable them to meet their goals. That however can be a better situation than bringing onboard the wrong person.

So what are the risks in taking on potentially the wrong person for a new role? Firstly, the person does not know the field in which s/he is supposedly an expert. Background checks and interviews are the key controls to mitigate this risk. Today with social channels such as LinkedIn, it should be fairly straightforward to check a person’s background. Yet, it is still something that firms frequently fail to adequately do. A LinkedIn profile and a resume with obvious gaps are red flags that are often missed. To avoid this, make sure before making a hiring decision your organization does the due diligence required to cross-check requirements with experience and skill set. Any issues should be flagged to address during the interview process. Automation and the use of certain analytical tools can certainly play a role in this.

Nevertheless, the risk of technical incompetence pales in comparison to the problems that can arise by hiring the behaviorally challenged. Hiring someone who is a poor fit within an organization’s culture or team can negatively impact the performance of the whole team. An overly self-promoting personality, for instance, can serve to undercut the performance and contribution of others. To protect against such hires, interviews, behavioral tests and reference checking are important tools but are hardly foolproof and attention needs to be paid to the stories they tell. Analysis of job change should lead to questions. Similarly, red flags should be raised by a candidate fussing too much about status, the size of an office, for example, or flip-flopping on whether or not to accept an offer.

Many of these red flags should be obvious to experienced managers, but often hiring managers will at times choose to hire in spite of them. Why, one might ask? In some cases, it may simply be desperation to hire and hire quickly to fill a gap in the team. Another case is the reluctance or failure of a long-term successful CEO, organization head, or even sports team coach, to pick an effective successor. Envy and jealousy are powerful motivators for negative behaviors. For instance, the CEO has an enviable record but may still be somewhat insecure about his place in history. Would another talented individual, given the same resources at his disposal, be able to match or even exceed his results?

A realistic mitigation strategy has to address these powerful realities of human behaviors that undercut business logic. Somehow, the envious must be shown that hiring or promoting the less talented will in the long run not help their own case for promotion. Psychologist Naomi Schragai, writing in the Financial Times, argues that one should aim to leverage these seemingly negative emotions for powerful positive use. View the hire of a talented colleague as a means to raising one’s own and the team’s performance, rather than as a negative thing. Instead of being responsible for another expensive mistake, making these changes to hiring habits and processes will help organizations improve their performance.


About Author

Scott Rosen

Want to know why 90% of the NJ, NY, DE and PA companies who work with us for their HR staffing needs (including Merck, Rutgers, PNC Bank, Daimer-Chrysler, Pfizer, SAP America and 150+ others) either re-hire our firm or refer us? We specialize exclusively in the Direct-Hire and Contract Placement of Human Resources Professionals including EVP of HR, VP of HR, Human Resources Manager, Compensation Manager, HR Generalist, Benefits Manager & Training Managers. The Rosen Group is one of very few firms in the NJ, NY, PA, and DE area that focuses on one, single area all day, every day – Recruiting and assessing HR talent! Our low-volume (2-3 positions filled per week, 8-12 per month and 100 per year), highly-consultative “super-niche” approach means that I will send you the right candidates – the first time (and typically within 1 week). For example 98% of our HR contractors complete their assignments, 50% are extended and 30% to 40% receive permanent offers! We’re giving Fortune 500 companies, SMBs and nonprofit organizations access to the best and brightest HR candidates. We have a database of thousands of HR executives with a wide range of experience, expertise and talent at all levels all the way up to the VP HR level. Plus we use social media and employment branding strategies to get your opportunities in front of top candidates. We're committed to the professional growth and development of the HR executives that we place for clients. That’s why I founded the HR Executive Alliance and the Talent Acquisition Leadership Alliance and have created the HR Department of the Year Awards. Maybe this is why the Rosen Group is one of the Inc 500 Fastest Growing Companies (Number 147!) – and why 90% of our clients refers us or rehire us.

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