Rerun – The #1 Cause of Bad Hires

It’s Spring Break in Michigan, so I’m going to step away from the daily grind and throw some Reruns at you! You guys remember Rerun, from What’s Happening? (look it up, kids!) So, enjoy the Reruns, they’re some of my favorites!

Originally ran May 2013 – 

A while back I interviewed a lady that would make a great recruiter. She was high energy, great on the phone, could source and an HR degree.  She applied for the job we had open for a recruiter and 100% positive she would have accepted the position if I would have offered it. I didn’t. 

She wasn’t a ‘fit’.  The job she truly wanted, her ‘dream’ job, was in straight HR, not recruiting.  She was willing to recruit – she really didn’t want to recruit.  We walked away from a terrific candidate.

Poor job fit is the #1 reason most people fail at a job.

Organizations spend so much time and resources ensuring they’re hiring the right skills, but most totally fail when it comes to organization and job fit.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to determine organizational fit.  Sure you can design an assessment, do peer interviewing, etc. But it always seems like a moving target, and it is.  Job fit also has multiple components:

1. The job you have open.

2. The company culture.

3. The job the candidate actually wants to do.

4. The job the candidate is willing to do and how good of an actor they are to prove to you that is the real job they want.

5. Your inability to see your perception of the candidate and their perception of themselves doesn’t align.

How many of you have ‘Poor Job Fit’ as a reason for termination on your exit interview form?

My guess is almost none.  Most managers and HR pros will list things like: performance, personality conflict, attitude, low skill set, personal reasons, schedule, etc.  We don’t want to use something like “Poor Job Fit” because what that says is “We suck at our jobs!”

The reality is – probably 75% of your terminations are because of poor job fit.  You hired someone with the skills you wanted, but the job you have doesn’t use or need most of those skills.  The job you have doesn’t meet the expectation you sold to the candidate.  The job you have isn’t really the job the person wants.

Most organizations would be farther off to hire by fit, than by skills. True statement.  HR pros hate to hear that – because it discounts a lot of what we do.  Job fit is the key to retention – not skills.  Find someone who wants to be a recruiter – and they probably

HR pros hate to hear that – because it discounts a lot of what we do.  Job fit is the key to retention – not skills.  Find someone who wants to be a recruiter – and they probably be a decent recruiter.  Find someone with great skills who doesn’t want to be a recruiter – and they’ll be a terrible recruiter. 

In almost every occupation where you don’t need professional certifications (doctor, lawyer, CPA, etc.) this holds true.  I know a great Accountant who never went to accounting school – better than anyone I’ve met you graduated from accounting school.  Some of the best teachers – never went to college to become a teacher – but they love teaching.

Do one thing for me the next time you interview a candidate for a job – ask them this one question:

“If you could have any job, in any location, what job would you select?  Why?” 

Their answer doesn’t have to be the job they’re interviewing for to be the ‘right’ answer.  Their answer should be in line with what you’re asking them to do – or you’re going to have a bad fit – and either you will eventually be terminating them, or they will eventually be resigning.

One thought on “Rerun – The #1 Cause of Bad Hires

  1. “If you could have any job, in any location, what job would you select? Why?”

    That is not sufficient since job fit depends on where the job is and the manager.

    Only the employer is in a position to know if a job applicant will be successful if hired (successful means that the job is done well and the new hire enjoys doing the job and will do it for a long time). For example, is assertiveness a job strength or a job weakness and how would a job applicant know? The applicant could ask a current employee but is that reliable? If the employee is more assertive than the job requires and is not rewarded for his assertiveness, the applicant may presume that assertiveness is a job weakness. Without knowing the job’s talent requirement the applicant cannot know if his level of assertiveness is a job strength or a job weakness.

    The best an applicant can do is know himself well and where he is on the continuum from super assertive to non-assertive and then ask questions that will uncover the job’s talent requirements.

    My nephew Paul, his experience was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, applied for a job at a well-known company. One of his older brothers told him to see his Uncle Bob. I prepared Paul for his interview the following day. I told him that he would be shown around the company, where he would be working, with whom he would be working, and what he would be doing. I also told him that at the end of the day the interviewer would ask, “Do you have any questions?”

    As it turned out the interviewer was the position’s manager. Paul said, “You have told me all about the job, where I will be working, who I will be working with and what I need to do to be successful. What type of person do I need to be in order to be successful in the job?” The manager replied, “I never thought of that, let me think.” He then said “You need to be diplomatic since our clients are all over the world and they call in quite angry when our systems fail so you can’t make matter worse by insensitive comments. You’ll also need to be spontaneous since you will be jumping all over our product line and solving problems all over the world. And this is a high pressure job so you need to be calm stable and relaxed under pressure. Does that help Paul?” Paul replied, “I am more diplomatic than 70% of the population, more spontaneous than 97% of the population and more calm stable and relaxed under pressure than 85% of the population. I’m your guy.” The manager asked him how he knew and Paul showed him the report. Paul took the time to answer the 300+ questions. He was hired and has been successful for the last 20 years.

    Only the employer is in a position to know if an applicant will be successful, but applicants can be better prepared.

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