Recruiting, Assessment & Training Solutions
  • Avoid a Bad Hire: “Assess – Early and Often”

    proceed with caution We just need a warm body to fill this position.”

    “Can we skip a few steps and just fast track this guy through the hiring process? We need to get someone on board ASAP.”

    “She seemed nice during the interview. Let’s just move forward and make the offer. I have other things I need to focus on.”

    It can be a vicious cycle: you’re overwhelmed with work to the point that you need help getting it all done. (Hence the need to hire someone.) The longer you drag out the hiring process, the longer you’re stuck (either personally or as a team ) picking up the slack that another person could be doing if they were on board already. So you just want the whole process to be done so that you can move on.

    Have those phrases ever crossed your mind during the interview / hiring process? Have you ever acted on those thoughts and cut a few corners to expedite the addition of a new hire?

    And, if so… have you ever been burned?

    It’s a baaaaad feeling.

    You bring someone on board quickly to save time on the front end, and then – usually not too far into the new person’s employment – you realize what a complete and total mistake it was to hire that person.  And then you spend far more time dealing with and fixing that mistake than you ever anticipated.

    You’re not alone.

    Anyone who’s been involved in hiring for long has at least that one person whose name still makes them shudder. We all have our own agendas that we’d like to get back to, and we have a bias to hire the first person who appears to be the quickest and easiest person to solve our problems for us. And it’s not always the case that we rushed candidates through the process … sometimes we get burned even when we thought we were being thorough.

    One thing’s for sure, though. Once we’ve been burned, we learn the cost of a bad hire in an unforgettable, firsthand way. They’re unproductive. We’re unproductive. Their teammates are frustrated and unproductive. And if we don’t deal with the situation quickly and effectively, sometimes we end up keeping the bad hire and losing the employees we wanted to stick around.

    Studies have been done to assign dollar figures to the cost of a bad hire in terms of retention, hiring and training costs, lack of productivity, etc. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says the cost can be up to five times the employee’s salary. If you’ve ever been in the unfortunate position of having made a bad hire, you just want to close your eyes, shake your head, and not be forced to look at that dollar figure. Because you just know. Yes, it’s a big number. Yes, it’s accurate. Yes, as Greg Scileppi of Robert Half says, “A bad hiring decision can often cause a negative ripple effect throughout the organization.”

    So what do you do to avoid making a bad hire again?

    The bad news is that you’re dealing with people, which means there are never any guarantees. (Told you it was bad news. That’s the reality, though!)

    The good news is that there are tools and instruments designed to help you through the process. They can help you to identify red flags, overcome hiring biases, and direct your interviewing efforts in a way that brings out the information that’s most relevant to helping you make an informed hiring decision.

    In the Fast Company article Why Companies Make Bad Hires, author Lydia Dishman says that companies should assess – early and often. While as many as 95% of companies admit to recruiting the wrong people each year (according to research commissioned by Glassdoor from management consultancy the Brandon Hall Group), most of those companies admitted that they did not assess candidates until after they were onboarded.

    According to Dishman, “Assessments should take into account the candidate’s soft skills rather than simply making sure the person can check all the pre-requisite experience required in the job description. Does that person demonstrate behaviors that align with the company’s culture? ”

    In other words, interviewers need to look beyond the laundry list of hard skills or certifications that a potential hire may bring to the table. They need to be able to look beyond the pleasant conversation that they had during an interview. In fact, before looking outward at what a new candidate can bring to you, hiring managers need to look inward first. They should begin by asking questions like, “What’s really needed to do this job well? What do the current top performers have (in terms of abilities, skills, personalities, values, etc.) that allow them to be productive and a good cultural fit within our organization?”

    Assessments can help bring important issues and conversations into the fold during the interview process. While they may not be able to stand on their own in evaluating candidates, they can be instrumental in helping create a more complete picture of the total person being considered for hire.

    Most pre-hire assessments are priced at less than the cost of one day’s wages for the typical employee. Ask anyone who has made a bad hire in the past if they would pay that to avoid making a bad hire again.

    If you’ve ever been in that position, you know the emphatic answer to that question!


    Hire, coach, and develop the right people for the right jobs at your company! LEGEND Talent Management can assist you with creating benchmark performance models for success and help you learn how to incorporate assessments into your hiring process.