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Have you ever made a bad hire? What should we do?

Have you ever made a bad hire?

Someone who appeared to be great in the interview but who was a nightmare to manage? Someone who created problems with your clients, your co-workers, even your boss?

Bad hires can ruin your day, your year, your career, even your company if they commit fraud or damage your brand in this social media world where bad news goes viral in hours.

Eliminating hiring mistakes is one of the important topics for HR professional. Therefore, when a candidate walks through your door for an Interview, you just can’t rely on your first impressions and background of the candidate.

What should we do?

The hiring process is more important than any other process. The people that are responsible for sales, marketing, accounting, development etc. all come through it and therefore it has the greatest impact on the company’s success. The biggest mistake will be to focus on hiring great people without designing the process that allows you to do that. So how can you get the best people without the best hiring process?

Person description vs. Job description

If you look at the vast majority of traditional job descriptions they typically have 3 distinct sections. Normally the first section lists the responsibilities such as responsible for selling x to these clients in this geographical region or responsible for marketing, operations etc. Then a list of things the person must have such as X years experience, language skills, degree, knowledge of XYZ etc. The final section tends to list a bunch of personality traits, good communicator, problem solver, takes initiative and the all-encompassing team player label.

However, two thirds of that “job description” is about the person and the other 1/3 simply does not tell you what results you are expected to achieve, which leaves you with no real sense of the size and scope of the job.

The solution:

We are all hired to achieve results, we are all paid, promoted and get the greatest job satisfaction from the results we deliver. All jobs have some measureable, tangible results that need to be accomplished on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual basis. Some are clearly more measureable than others, say sales versus operations but if you cannot measure what a person is doing, how do you know the person is doing good work. It takes more work to put a dollar figure to the results but each person must perform a function that contributes to the bottom line.

If you were hiring and had the perfect candidate based on your “person description” standing in front of you what would you ask them to do and how would you clarify what results they would be expected to deliver?

Honestly who really cares what degree you have or how many languages you can speak or how many years experience you have if you cannot achieve the expected results. All these “must haves” are nothing more than a barrier to hiring great people. If you can deliver the agreed results then you have all the “must haves” you need.

So the critical first step for the company will have its own set of hiring objectives and by breaking those objectives down and assigning them to each department and then one step further to each individual the entire company can be aligned to work together to achieve them. This makes it much easier for everyone to see what everyone else has to do and this will aid teamwork.

Most roles can be broken down to between 5 to 8 SMART objectives. There is usually a major objective such as increase sales by 10% in the next 12 months, followed by some sub objectives like hire three new sales people by the end of the next 90 days. Other objectives might include updating the website by the end of the first 120 days. 

When this is done properly it will mean easier to identify potential candidates and by having the right person in the role, less stress and more productivity.



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