By Lou Adler / 譯者：Lynn Lee, Beatrice Lei April 28, 2010
The Adler Group, President
What's a hiring mistake?
If you have low standards a hiring mistake is someone who gets terminated or quits during the first 3-6 months. If you have high standards it's someone who isn't an achiever. An achiever – typically a B+ or better person – is someone who delivers high-quality results on a consistent basis, deals effectively with all types of people, can take on bigger projects, and gets promoted into bigger roles. To me, not hiring an achiever for most roles is a mistake. For rank-and-file positions, not hiring someone who performs as well as those already in the top-third is also a mistake. Not making these hiring mistakes is sure to improve your company's overall talent levels.
如果你是個對於聘雇採低標準者，你可以容許所雇用的人在三至六個月內離職或遭解聘。反之高標者則對於非成功者則不予聘雇。一位成功者他的基本績效通常為B+或更好 ─ 他會呈現一致性的高品質工作成果，能有效與各種類型的人共事，能承擔更大的任務，同時能晉升至重要的位階。對我而言，沒有能夠在每個聘僱職務中，聘僱到成功者是件錯誤的事。如果沒有聘雇績效為評比比率的前三分之一者，也是錯誤的事。如果少了這些錯誤聘僱，公司整體的人力水平將會因此提升。
When viewed from the above perspective, there are some common hiring mistakes that can be virtually eliminated with some talent-focused leadership from HR and the executive team. Here's my short list of mistakes and some solutions. Since I'm biased, you'll note a Performance-based Hiring theme to these solutions. Whether you choose to go that route, or not, is less important than doing something that focuses on eliminating the backend mistakes, not just spending all of your resources on finding more candidates.
The Short List of Common Hiring Mistakes and Possible Solutions
- Not enough good people to consider. On one level this is a sourcing issue. In this case it clearly falls in the lap of the recruiting department for failure. On the other hand, if the company has weak leadership, a non-competitive comp plan, not enough recruiting resources, and a bad reputation, it's unlikely it will see enough good people, regardless of the strength of the recruiting department. In this case a super strong HR/Recruiting leader would be required to turn around the department. However, if the company's fortunes are reasonable, then the recruiting function just needs an overhaul. You need to have a strong sourcing and recruiting strategy that drives enough top talent to the table in order to hire enough of them to go around. When the supply of talent exceeds demand, this is easy to do, but won't be once the recovery begins.
- The best person didn't get hired. This is a frequent hiring mistake that seemingly falls on the hiring manager's shoulders. Of course, you never know about this mistake, so assigning blame for something that didn't happen is tough to pull off. So in this case I'll assign blame to the recruiters involved and the process used to compare candidates. Most recruiters are too timid, and rarely fight for a strong candidate who they believe is stronger than the others, especially if the person does not have the exact background listed on the job description. This problem is compounded by the informal decision-making process managers use to decide whom to hire among competing candidates. Performance-based Hiring is a great solution for this with focus on how to use evidence vs. feelings to make the assessment. (Here's an article for more on this topic.)
- A strong person was hired, but isn't working out for a variety of reasons. This is a big disappointment, but usually attributed to hiring an achiever for the wrong job or lack of fit with the hiring manager. Other reasons include an inability to work with the team or some type of personality and culture clash. The job fit mistake is largely caused by not clarifying job expectations before the person was hired, resulting in hiring someone who is competent, but not motivated to do the work required. This is an unconscionable mistake with fault totally assigned to the hiring manager. It's easily corrected, though, with a little discipline. Just require managers to prepare a performance profile before getting the requisition approved. A performance profile summarizes the performance requirements of the job, not the skills required to do the work. Many of these can address the team, culture, and managerial fit issues, minimizing these types of mistakes, as well.
- The job was a lateral move for the candidate. This is a variation of the "good person, wrong job" problem above, but with a different solution. During an economic slowdown, the best people aren't looking, and those that are have lowered their acceptance standards. During a recovery, the best people are all looking for career moves, but are often swayed by a big jump in compensation or a "grass is greener" promise. Once on the job, however, sometimes the grass turns out to be just another shade of brown. Formally implementing a career decision process for candidates to use when comparing their opportunities can ensure that the person is evaluating your position as a real career move. (Here's a related article. Also, email us if you'd like to see a demo of this process.) This will not only prevent the lateral move problem, but also allow the company to hire more top people for the right reasons, not compensation and half-baked pie-in-the-sky promises.
- A weak candidate was hired due to an improper assessment. Sometimes weak people get hired because there was no one else available at the time. More often a bottom-half person gets hired because the selection process was flawed. This is attributed to three fundamental causes. One, a decision was quickly made based on first impressions, intuition, or gut feelings. Two, managers overvalued technical skills at the expense of delivering results on a consistent basis. Three, managers and those on the hiring team made a flawed judgment based on their personal needs and biases in combination with a mix of semi-valid interviewing techniques. Implementing Performance-based Hiring will eliminate these problems. (Here's an article about the assessment process that will validate this claim.)
- Weak managers can't hire strong people. Top people don't want to work for someone who isn't a leader or can't be a mentor. In this case a performance profile, the use of an exploratory interview, and intervention by a more senior-level manager can help. Adding a formal "raising the talent bar" process can minimize some of this by making the hiring decision more team-based. In this way weaker hiring managers aren't making the decision on whom to hire alone, and the candidate has other people to seek out for career advice.
If you have more than two or three of these problems, the root cause is systemic, probably the lack of an end-to-end hiring process. In this case, implementing Performance-based Hiring can have an enormous impact on improving your company's ability to consistently hire top people across the board. Following are the steps involved. Most are common sense. As you review the list you'll discover that none of the ideas are profound or hard to implement. What's hard to do is getting every manager and recruiter to do them every time.
- Don't rely totally on skills-based job descriptions. Instead, have managers clearly define what the person will be doing on the job before the req is approved. As part of this include how the person's performance will be measured.
- Use the assessment to determine if the person has performed the tasks at the standards described. If you do this, you'll discover that the person has exactly the skills and experience needed to be successful. This will be slightly different for everyone.
- Don't use job descriptions to write recruiting advertising. It's better if you prepare career-oriented ads that focus on what the person can learn, do, and become.
- Provide candidates with a decision tool to compare jobs based on their short- and long-term merits (e.g., job stretch, growth, team, comp, work/life balance, etc.). If you give this to them right after the phone screen, they can use it to ask questions and gather the right information to make a reasoned career decision.
- Systematize the evaluation and comparison among candidates by using a formal evidence-based assessment process based on all job factors (e.g., technical, team, motivation, growth trend, consistency of results, problem-solving, fit, etc.). As part of this eliminate yes/no voting with a requirement that evidence is shared in an open forum.
While this list of mistakes is not complete, nor the solutions proposed the only ones available, the idea of focusing on eliminating mistakes can have a profound impact on overall hiring results. The problem with most companies is segmenting the mistakes, rather than working on them at the system level. This is the underlying benefit of Performance-based Hiring. It started out as a means to eliminate hiring mistakes, and in the process it ended up as system to hire top talent. In my book, Hire With Your Head, I describe how to do this, step-by-step, with specific case studies. This should be enough to get you started, but email me if you'd like to learn more.
The Adler Group Team