How’s the new hire working?

Have you ever hired someone you just knew would be great for a job and that person confirmed your expectations?  In fact, you can probably think of at least one such person right now. Let’s flip the question: have you ever hired someone you just knew would be great and some months later, you are asking what gave you that idea?  It’s a good bet you can think of at least one such person right now, too.  What did you do differently in the hiring that resulted in either outcome? 

The reality is, you probably didn’t do anything different and nothing about that makes you unusual.  Most organizations have a rote process for finding people, particularly after they have decided on which candidates will be the finalists.  There is a varying number of interviews depending on the position, perhaps a background and/or credit check, the occasional reference, and maybe some intuition.  Odds of success?  About the same as a coin flip. Otherwise, the Google search string “reducing employee turnover” would not spit back more than 1.5-million results. Think about that – one and a half million articles, from scholarly entries in peer-reviewed journals to articles in business publications to posts with tips and suggestions.

This contains my favorite suggestion: hire the right people. Ya think? If the right people were being hired, turnover might not be a problem. And yet, that’s a common bullet point. At some level, it does make sense. A bad hiring decision will cost you anywhere from 50% of that person’s salary up to 200% of salary, and that’s direct tangible cost.  Never mind the indirect costs – recruiting and training time, the impact on employee morale – or worse, on customers, and other areas, perhaps including legal bills. What if you had information that could predict the likelihood of a candidate’s success in a given job? What would that be worth?

Specifically, I’m talking about information that answers three questions:  can the person do the job; how will the person do the job; will the person want to the job?  If you understand how someone thinks and processes information, if you understand how the person fits (or doesn’t) into the corporate culture, and if you understand what motivates this person, you are eliminating a lot of guesswork. It not guarantee success but it does guarantee less failure, and reducing the number of losses tends to result in an increased number of wins. 

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