What Percentage of Your Hires Don’t Live Up to Expectations?

Over the last 15 years I’ve presented to well over 25,000 CEOs and senior executives. One of my favorite questions to ask is:

Of all the hires you’ve ever made, what percentage hit or exceeded your expectations? What percentage missed missed your targets?

Almost all these CEOs and Senior Executives claim that if they were hitting 50% they feel they would be doing a great job. Most readily admit they’re somewhere around 25%-33%.

Amazingly, this statistic is borne out through a lot of the research that has been done studying the accuracy of interviewing. Most studies, at best, show successful hiring less than 50% of the time.

Does this sound dysfunctional? Why do you except results in hiring that are basically random?

We call this CRAPSHOOT hiring since the success rate is essentially equal to rolling dice on the craps table in Las Vegas.

Rolling the Dice during CRAPSHOOT Hiring

You don’t accept this level of random results anywhere else in your business. Why then do you accept in when it comes to hiring? You would never accept random accuracy and results in the payroll checks you write or the invoices you send to customers. What rationalizations do you use to justify accepting random hiring results among your team?

There are many reasons that hiring fails in the vast majority of companies. However, the one that stands above all the rest is that the person or team conducting the interview lacks the skills and knowledge to do a decent job of interviewing.

In most companies, hiring and interviewing is not a process. It’s a set of arbitrary events predicated upon each individual executive or manager. Each one does it differently based on their life experiences.  This random, arbitrary, and poorly trained effort leads to random results.

Another one of the questions I pose in my workshops, seminars, and hiring manager training is:

When should you make a hiring a systematic and rigorous process – not unlike any other key process in your business?

The intuitive answer to that question is RIGHT NOW. Reality then sets in and you recognize that to move hiring from a random effort to a systematic, rigorous, and reliable process requires behavioral change among your executives and managers. Putting forms in place, sending managers to training, and giving out a list of questions to ask in the interview (this would actually exceed what most companies do) is not enough – you actually have to change the hiring behavior of executives and managers that when it comes to hiring adopt the philosophy of “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.”

When will stop accepting poor hiring decisions in your organization – hiring people who either can’t deliver your expected outcomes or can’t fit in the culture of your business? When will you become so disgusted with your current approach to hiring that you’re finally ready to implement best practices to raise hiring accuracy? Discover some of the most common best practices in hiring and the most common mistakes by clicking here.

Barry Deutsch

How Much HIRING Training Do New Managers or Executives Get?

Ostrich (managers and executives) with their head buried in the sand

If you guessed ZERO, you’re probably not far off the mark. Why do most companies stick their head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich when it comes to hiring and interview training of managers and executives?

Very few companies give their new managers and executives any type of training in how to find, attract, evaluate, verify, vet, and validate the truth in interviews. As a result, the average level of hiring success hovers around the 50/50 mark. Not effectively training managers and executives in how to hire properly is the number one leading cause of hiring failure.

Just because someone has 22 years of experience and has hired 47 candidates in their career – does not mean they are effective at hiring. Experience doesn’t link to success. If we use a criteria of hiring success defined as candidates who achieve your expected outcomes over their first 12-18 months on the job, the actual level of hiring success is probably below 50 percent.

Is there any other process in your business where you will accept random results, results based on each individual managers life experiences, results where you allow bias and emotions to dictate outcomes, or results where no one follows any type of disciplined process?

How about the process of writing payroll checks or the process of paying vendor bills? You’d never accept a 50/50 level of success in those processes – so why do you accept it in hiring?

Okay – you might say “it doesn’t matter what we do – hiring can never be more accurate since people are involved in the process – a walking/talking product.” If that’s not a defeatist attitude, I’ve never heard one. Of course you can improve your accuracy in hiring – primarily by training your managers and executives. Numerous studies have shown, and we’ve validated it in thousands of Vistage/TEC companies, entrepreneurial companies, and large global businesses, that effective training of hiring managers and executives can dramatically improve hiring accuracy.

What are you waiting for? What’s your plan to improve your hiring accuracy? If you accept the trite phrase that people are our most important asset – are you willing to back it up with an investment of funds and time when it comes to training and developing managerial and leadership capability around hiring?

Barry Deutsch

PS – Take our quick one page hiring assessment to determine if your organization is capable of hiring top talent. Click here to download our popular hiring assessment matrix.

Most Company’s Hiring Process Is Not A Process

We find that this occurs because the hiring process really isn't a process in many companies. Many hiring processes tend to be random and with incompetent, untrained people. This is not a knock on the people, it is just a fact. So why do companies expect hiring to be accurate and to attract top talent with a random or unstructured  process?

I know this sounds so obvious. Come on, who in their right mind would expect any business process to be reliable if it  produced expected results only 56% of the time.  A company wouldn't allow it. They would fix the process or shut it down. Would any company have incompetent or untrained people processing incoming checks with unstructured procedures? Lose just one check and everything stops, procedures and controls are assessed, people are retrained or fired, and the CFO personally oversees that it never happens again.

This is true with most processes except hiring. Most companies accept a high failure rate. Why any company accepts this is beyond me when this can be improved with some relatively easy fixes.

The fact is that most hiring managers have little or no training on interviewing and hiring. Many only do it once or twice a year. So even if they have some training, by the time they hire someone they have forgotten most of the training. There are no college level courses focused on hiring. Most people learn on-the-job. One day they are an individual contributor and the next day they are promoted to a manager and told to hire their replacement. So how did this person become competent at hiring overnight?

This new hiring manager is going to hire the way they were hired. This new manager will follow the same methodology whether it is good or bad. Where do you think this person will get the interviewing questions  to ask the candidates? Generally, from the people who hired them. And where do you think the person who hired them got their interviewing questions? And so on, until we finally hit Moses.  Many hiring processes have not really changed with the times. We call this “tribal hiring.”  It is just passed down from generation to generation.

The fact is that this new hiring manager is not prepared for hiring.  Another fact is that people often assume that because someone has hired a lot of people, that  makes them good at hiring even though no one has validated the performance of those hires.

For any process to work it has to repeatable, be structured, have competent people, and have some measurement of accountability so when things go wrong (and they always will) one can identify the problem and fix it. In my thirty years as a recruiter and 15 years helping companies implement a structured process I have yet to find a company that does this.

In fact, I have seen only a few companies that include hiring top talent as part of their performance management system. Why not hold managers accountable for poor hires the same way companies do for other poor performance? At least this would begin to establish a process where a company can identify those  managers that need training, so they can become better at  hiring.

There are at least five distinct steps to an effective hiring process. These steps have to be repeatable,  with competent people and accountability to correct and improve the process. For many companies this falls to HR. However, since the vast majority of companies don't have an HR department, then it has to fall where everything else in an organization should fall, with the CEO.

The five critical steps are:

  1. A job description that  defines the expected standards of top performance for the position. Not the standard job description that defines a person's background and lists the basic duties, tasks and responsibilities. The candidate should already know all of these. Maybe companies should ask the candidate to prepare a job description just to see if the candidate knows the job.
  2. A sophisticated sourcing plan that will attract top performers that are not actively looking for a position, but are open to a compelling opportunity.
  3. Probing interviews with competent people doing the interviewing that tests the candidate's ability to the job BEFORE you hire them. This means that the candidate must be able to explain exactly how they will deliver the performances standards defined in the job. They must detail how they will do these in your company, with your resources, within your culture and your budget, with your management style, with your customers, and with all of the the things that make your company different.
  4. There must be proper feedback or discussion of the candidate's ability to do the job  immediately after the candidate interviews. Not two days later standing in a Starbucks line while  you wait for your coffee. Not just asking the question, “What did you think of the candidate?”
  5. There must other tests, presentations,  and assessments to validate that what the candidates said they did, they actually did do and did it at the level and with the results they claimed.

These five steps are absolutely critical in every effective hiring process. Just having them isn't enough. There must be some metric that determines if the process is working and where improvement needs to occur.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

Where Do Candidates Come From?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket when recruiting top talent

This sounds like the typical question your 3 year old might ask?

Have you ever really thought about where they come from?

Candidates come from a number of different sources. I’m going to tackle the 4 major sources over the next few weeks in these blog postings.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t get to see the best ones. Instead, the only use ONE dominant source and it’s usually not the best source. This is known as “putting all your eggs in one basket”. I'm going to challenge you with a  “disruptive” thought: if we only use one method of finding candidates and it’s not the best method – what’s going to happen?

I’ll tell you what happens:

  • frustration
  • anger
  • desperation
  • more frustration
  • resignation
  • lowering standards
  • accepting mediocrity

This occurs because you’re using a technique of advertising that’s been around since the beginning of the industrial revolution and it just doesn’t work well in today’s social media-interactive-engagement oriented climate. Posting traditional job descriptions onto job boards is a worthless recruitment strategy and a complete waste of money. Occasionally, you might get lucky and find a gem – but it’s not an on-going rigorous process that fills your pipeline with great talent.

The traditional job description combined with classified job advertising (job board ad posting) primarily attracts the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool. It attracts the rejects, retreads, dysfunctional, poor performers who will NEVER succeed in your company. It’s very difficult to separate the “wheat from the chaff” as the adage goes.

Here’s the scenario that most companies experience:

You post your job on one of the major job boards

You get 300 responses

Out of the 300, you can’t figure out what keyword did 298 click on to apply for the job. They are so far off the mark, it’s bordering on comical. Two in the group looked pretty good. Unfortunately, they went on and off the market in the blink of an eye – since 50 other companies were advertising for the same exact job with your same job description boilerplate language.

3 weeks after you posted the advertisement, you’ve got nothing to show for it except the 6 hours you spent reviewing resumes while watching Dancing with the Stars.

Now you’re faced with a dilemma – what to do? In most cases you will REPEAT and RINSE – you’ll run the same ad again hoping for different results (welcome to the insanity of traditional recruiting). What do you get – same results as the first time.

Except this time, you’re tired of the process. You crave for it to be over. You’ve got real work to do instead of wasting your time trying to hire someone. After 5 more weeks, you’ve managed to line up 3 candidates.

You know that not one of these candidates can achieve your expectations. However, you’re done – you want nothing more to do with hiring at this stage. So you pick the “cream of the crap” and hope they manage to make it through your 90 day probation period. You could deal with rehiring someone in 90 days – right now you just need a break.

I know you would never fall victim to doing this – but what about all the executives and managers who work for you? How many times does this occur in your organization on a daily basis?

STOP using just one method of hiring – posting on job boards – and especially STOP using the traditional job description as your advertisement. The job description is not an ad – it’s a job description masquerading as an ad – and it’s a complete turn-off to top talent.

I recently wrote a companion article to this blog post titled Hiring Mistake #7: Fishing in Shallow Waters. Fishing in Shallow Waters occurs because we try to easily and quickly skim the candidates floating near the surface of the pond. If you want to get great employees, you must fish deeply in the pond. You can read more about one of the greatest mistakes in hiring – fishing in shallow waters – by clicking here.

Are you frustrated by posting job descriptions on job boards and getting weak candidates? What other methods are you using to attract better candidates?

We’ve created a quick 15 minute phone review called “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent”. The hundreds of companies that have called us and asked for the 15 minute review are stunned at how easy it is to find great talent outside of generic job board postings. Are you ready for your “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent” review.

Fire off an email or use the contact form on our blog to send us a note asking for your 15 minute review. If you’re done wasting time attracting the bottom third of the candidate pool through traditional recruiting techniques, start right now to make a change to start getting the top 25%!

While you're going through this process over the next 48 hours of pure disgust over the quality of candidates you've seen off your traditional job advertisement, don't forget to download a copy of our award winning and popular guide to hiring, “You're NOT the Person I Hired.”

Barry Deutsch

Four Things Companies Do To Shoot Themselves In The Foot When Hiring – Part 2

I recently asked over one hundred CEOs and their key executives, “Is hiring top talent critical to the success of your organization?” Not surprising that everyone replied “Yes.” Not simply important, but critical. So then I asked,”If it is critical, then how many of you spend time each month focusing on hiring, excluding when you are actively looking to fill a position?” Not surprising, only three people raised their hand.

WOW, something that is critical to the success of the organization, gets virtually zero time unless there is a current need. Is that the way most critical issues are handled in your company? No strategic planning. No thought or action discussed or taken until the problem arises? Only once the problem arises is it dealt with it. Until then it is that famous management strategy, “Out of sight, out of mind?” or “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

I believe this management style only happens with hiring. Most other critical issues are regularly discussed, on-going programs such as, cost reductions, product development, increasing sales or market share, customer service, improving operational efficiencies are all constantly discussed and often major components of the company's strategic plan. In fact, I have seen many strategic plans that all have great plans for growth. Yet few ever include a strategy for hiring the people needed to execute the plan as the company grows. Strategic hiring is rarely part of a strategic plan.

I believe companies that truly want to hire top talent and do it on a consistent basis must avoid these four major land mines when hiring:

1) Untrained Managers – Discussed in part 1.

2) Poorly Defined Job – Discussed in part 1.

3) Finding candidates – This is one of the biggest problems faced by companies. This happens as a result of number two. Most companies search for the least qualified to start with. Then they complain that all they are seeing is unqualified candidates.

The other issue causing this problem is that most companies start the hiring process too late. They wait until they absolutely need someone. Then they expect that when they are ready to hire someone, at that moment in time, top talent will also magically appear on the market, find them, and be so compelled after reading the minimum job description to update their resume, and respond. YEAH and a multimillion dollar customer will also magically call too.

Reactive hiring is a thing of the past. Hiring top talent requires proactive hiring. This means your hiring managers must be in the market engaging people all the time. They should be connecting with people on LinkedIn, involved in professional associations, and commit at least an hour or two a month to hiring. Few managers spend any time engaging potential candidates when they aren't actively hiring. In fact, many even discard resumes as they come in if they aren't hiring. Finding top talent doesn't take a lot of time each month, but it does take a consistent monthly effort of an hour or two.

4) Disrespecting the Candidates – Top talent, especially those candidates who are working and in no hurry to make a job change (referred to as passive candidates) will walk away from a manager or company if they aren't respected in the interviewing process.

Some common complaints that left candidates feeling disrespected include:

  • The hiring manager being late for the interview. Few managers would accept it if the candidate was late, so why should it be OK for the manager?
  • Lack of  preparation by the interviewer. Again, if the candidate came in unprepared would that be acceptable?
  • Taking calls during the interview.
  • Finally, telling the candidate that if they have any further questions to call them. Then ignoring the calls. If managers don't respect the candidate during the hiring process, it isn't going to get any better once they are hired.

The interview is a PR event. These candidates will make sure others know how they were treated. They may post it on a website or hear about a person they know is interviewing and ask them about their experience. Bad PR is never a good thing. This is an easy thing to fix. It only takes treating candidates the same way you would treat a customer.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You're NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad