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

Barry Deutsch

About the Author

Barry Deutsch is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Barry is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  1. Mary Ellen Rose, Ph.D. says:

    I think they fail at hiring the right people because the right people never make it to the interview phase. If I had a nickel for every application I filled out for a job that I was well qualified for, I would be a wealthy woman (or at least I’d have a few dollars in my pocket!).

    Point being, I don’t know who does the vetting of applications…machines, people, subcontractors, or whatever…I do know that I am an awesome catch and am having a heck of a time finding my way onto the hook that will bring me into the boat.

    As a side note, I have looked at job descriptions that require knowledge and experience far beyond the listed / expected requirements of the applicants — so I’m not surprised if there is a huge disconnect between the hired B.A. educated, 2-4 years experience work outcome and the work that would have come from the overlooked Ph.D., 15 years experience that was probably considered “over qualified”.

    Just a thought.

    • Mary,

      One of the greatest problems is that most first level “screeners” whether these be lower level managers, HR clerks with little experience, or recruiters with no knowledge of the role they are recruiting – conduct what we might call box checking on the job description. It’s like ordering at the drive-through fast food line (make sure to check that article out on our blog if you have a chance). This becomes even more pronounced during down job markets, when employers believe they can get every box checked if they just wait long enough since so many candidates are out of work. This box checking tribal hiring approach that’s been around from the days of Henry Ford building Model Ts doesn’t work and is a major contributor to hiring failure.

      Barry Deutsch
      IMPACT Hiring Solutions

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