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Part One of a 2-Part Series on Systematic Interviewing and Recruiting

You are what you eat. It’s a staid, old adage, but also a true one. Nutrients from the foods you eat ultimately determine your physical constitution, the makeup of every cell in your body. A balanced diet contributes to excellent health, but it takes discipline to make healthy choices.  A fast food diet is much easier, but it won’t produce the same results.

The same principle applies for organizations. Leaders know that their recruiting, interviewing and selection process significantly impacts productivity, customer satisfaction, profitability and a host of other key performance indicators, yet they may not give much thought to the discipline required to systematically recruit the best candidates. Predictably, the results have consequences.

What’s the Cost of a Bad Hire?

It’s not unusual for labor to represent 70% or more of the costs of running a service business. Especially for smaller businesses, the ramifications of a poor hiring decision can be significant. A 2016 Careerbuilder study surveyed business leaders regarding the effects of a bad hire. Here are a few of the most frequently cited responses:

  • Lost productivity (36%)
  • Compromised quality of work (33%)
  • Negative effect on employee morale (31%)
  • Additional cost for training a replacement (30%)
  • Excessive time spent with an underperforming employee (29%)

There are obviously other areas of impact – customer service, sales, business relationships, and the potential for legal ramifications, to name a few. According to the survey, the average cost of a bad hire for companies with more than 500 employees is $23,000.1

Job Criteria: Knowing What You’re Looking For

$23,000 is a huge cost, even for a large organization. While it may not be possible to eliminate an occasional bad hire, using a process that maximizes the chances of success certainly makes good sense. That process starts with a basic understanding of the objectives involved. The goal in any interviewing and hiring process is to identify who can and will do the job and will fit within the organizational culture. The attributes are specific:

  1. Can Do’s – competencies needed to carry out the job responsibilities and duties, including technical skills, demonstrated abilities, knowledge, and experience.
  2. Will Do’s – the motivation, willingness, and energy that drives required actions (showing up for a shift, travel, sales calls, performing maintenance).
  3. Fit Factors – the ability to work cooperatively with supervisors, co-workers, customers, and others.

Fast people decisions are usually wrong people decisions

                             –Peter Drucker

There are numerous reasons that recruiters and hiring decision makers can feel pressured to fill openings quickly, especially when demand for employees is high and competitive offers may be pending. That doesn’t remove the requirement for thorough preparation and the development of specific job criteria for each open position. Just as maintaining a balanced diet is a prerequisite to a healthy lifestyle, obtaining a completely understanding the job’s can do’s, will do’s and fit factors are absolute prerequisites for a successful recruiting process.

In Part 2 of the series, we’ll look at 4 key elements of a systematic recruiting process.

The Focus Group provides a full range of Executive Search Services for Georgia Employers’ Association members and businesses throughout the Southeast. Click the link or contact GEA for more information.


1>Press Release, Careerbuilder, 11/17/16