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Bad Hires Worse

Jan 28

I wrote this 2 years ago.  It still rings true.  I still need to be reminded of this.  I still run into examples of this monthly. Enjoy.

If I could take all of my HR education, My SPHR and 20 years of experience and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end we, more times than not, leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired – the Hiring Manager.   I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came.  Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved – but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one – it happens every single day.  Everyday we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus.   It’s not an easy change to make in your organization.  It’s something that has to come from the top.  But, if you are serious about making a positive impact to talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.  They have to know, through performance management, that: 1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving); 2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.  That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.”  It sends a clear and direct message to your organization – we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue – it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments.  If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!” – No you don’t – stop it).   Bad hires worse – over and over and over.  Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions – they are Bad.  We/HR own this.  We have the ability and influence to stop it.  No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions – they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret I have – something I will change.  If it happens again, I won’t allow it.  I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision – at least not without a fight!

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