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THE REAL “LIABILITY” OF A BAD HIRE

What is the real impact of a bad hire to an organization?

Much has been written and said about the expense of a bad hire.  The expenses of a bad hire include direct expenses such as advertisements as well as human resources department or recruiters' time spent in attracting candidates, filtering them and scheduling and conducting interviews.  Once hired there is also training time that takes up a manager's time as well as the new hire that is not yet productive.

Then there is the cost of terminating someone to include Human Resources, legal and any termination pay.  There is lost productivity if someone is not working out.  This is standard textbook information and why it is important to hire right the first time!

There is also the emotional cost of making a bad hire.  As you fret and document your case for a change, that's time not spent working on your business.  Dealing with poor performing employees is a drain on managers' mental capacity and has implications for the performance of the firm.  This effect is particularly acute in small businesses and entrepreneur-led firms, because the leadership of these companies is involved in most aspects of the day-to-day operations.  Bad hires are cancerous in that regard:  they crowd out the healthy and productive thoughts and grow until you're literally forced to take action.  The "real" expenses include factors such as reduced team productivity and missed client opportunities as everyone in the department or organization is thrown off by the bad hire.

However, the damage can go further.  In today's litigious society bad hires are often kept on while the warning and termination process plays out.  During this time an organization's liability increases from poor customer service, reputation harm as well as perhaps inaccuracies or problems created in the companies' information systems, databases and records.  It's all the more reason to ensure your hiring process is one that maximizes results and minimizes the risk of a bad hire.  Are you using a consistent process in hiring that ensures objectivity with a clear and thorough job description?  Have you determined the personality needed in selecting the new hire?  Have you identified and reviewed why people succeed and fail in your organization? As you screen, interview and select the new candidate is this information both analytically as well as emotionally tallied and considered? Are you conducting thorough background and reference checks?  If the answer to any of these questions is anything but yes, then you're taking on more risk than is necessary.

​If you would like to discuss improving your hiring process contact Warren Deutsch, CPC, President of Advance Resources for a complimentary consultation.  Advance Resources is a specialized Executive Search, Recruitment and Staffing company that offers candidate retention guarantees far in excess of the industry norm.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW TIPS

What are some keys to success for preparing and participating as a candidate for a telephone interview?  First, let’s think about telephone interviews and why companies conduct them rather than starting with a face to face, in-person interview.Many companies use telephone screening as a cost-effective tool and if you are interviewing for a position in another location, it will be the rule and not the exception.  Telephone screening enables companies to screen out candidates whose qualifications and sincere interest are questionable.  Telephone interviewing is impartial.  One candidate does not have visual advantage over another.  Voice content and tone are the important factors.  How well does the candidate express him/herself?  How well does he/she listen?  Does the candidate ask quality questions?  Is there excitement about the prospect of visiting the company?  Prepare for a telephone interview as you would for an in-person interview.

Listed below are some key points to keep in mind and are different/even more important for a telephone interview than an in-person interview.

 

  1. Arrange a time that is mutually agreeable so you can speak freely with no distractions.  If you are called unexpectedly and the time is inconvenient, ask the caller if it is possible to talk at a more convenient time.
  2. Allow sufficient time.
  3. Do not drink, smoke, chew gum, eat, chew on a pencil, chew tobacco or do anything else that will interfere with your voice.
  4. Even though they can’t see you, you may want to dress up for the phone interview, as it may make you feel more professional and thus resonate in your tone.
  5. Have a pad and pencil in front of you to take notes with prepared questions.
  6. Listen carefully, do not interrupt, and pause to collect your thoughts before launching into your answer.  Do not talk too softly or too loudly.
  7. Smile, it comes through over the phone.
  8. Modulate your voice to emphasize points.
  9. Keep your answers concise and to the point.  Rambling answers lose the listener.
  10. Remember that word choice, pitch, modulation, and other verbal clues signify intelligence, alertness, and enthusiasm.  The telephone magnifies subtleties that may go unnoticed in face to face discussions.  Voice inflection gives color and texture to ordinary words.
  11. Ask for the next step. “I know that you’re busy.  There is only so much that we can measure on the phone, based on my background and what needs to be done for this job, I believe that I can add value and am interested in this opportunity.  I would like to go ahead and set up a face-to-face meeting?What are your thoughts?”

How do these thoughts resonate with you?  Anything you’d like to add?  Join the conversation, your comments are encouraged.

RESUMES THAT STAND OUT

Have you ever wished you communicated the right information to get hired? How about making the best hiring decision as a manager? Starting today I will be writing a bi-weekly 1 page blog which will give you all this information in a two minute read.

Today’s first article is on writing your resume. Your resume needs to sell you.

The challenge is that the hiring manger may only look at it for less than 30 seconds to make a decision. Hiring managers (and their screeners) are looking for a reason to eliminate your resume from the stack (process of elimination). You want to be smart and not have your resume eliminated - you want a resume that stands out!

Here are 10 tips for resume success!

1.)    Many hiring managers like “chronological” resumes that detail your job history, starting with the most recent. “Functional” resumes that list your skills only may appear to be hiding something, even if they are not. You want your resume to be easy to read, not difficult to follow.  

2.)    Your most recent job(s) should get the most words. Past jobs summaries should be brief. Do not just add your most recent job on top of your old resume. Reduce the amount of words describing each position the further back they are in your resume. Recency is what matters - “what have you done for me lately?”

3.)    Each position should list the company worked for, your title and the dates. It should then include a sentence or two on what the company does and its relevant $$ revenue size. For each position note your responsibilities and then separately your accomplishments.

4.)    To remember your accomplishments take a blank sheet of paper and start writing everything you did for each relevant position. Accomplishments are more powerful if you can quantify the results.

5.)    Make sure you clearly note all internal promotions. Internal promotions give evidence that you did work worthy of a promotion. Hiring managers like that! Past performance is a great indicator of future performance.

6.)    For each position concisely note your reason for leaving. The hiring manager wants to know. Take the lead - get it out of the way up-front. The resume needs to sell, in this case answer an objection (why did you leave) in a positive manner.

7.)    Key words matter. Look at job postings you want. What are the key words? Make sure your resume has the key words in it to be found in a key word search.

8.)    Typically, resumes should not be longer than two pages (three pages maximum). For certain job functions such as consultants you can always add an addendum of accomplishments.

9.)    Make the resume easy on the eyes. It should be full, but well laid-out. Have consistent format. Size 10 - 12 font is best.

10.)  As you present your resume to different hiring managers and openings it is best to customize the resume to that unique audience. For example, note an accomplishment that pertains to the particular position and industry you are applying to.

REVIEWING RESUMES – GOT A MINUTE? USE IT WISELY

5 Decision Points for Hiring Managers in Reviewing Resumes in Less than 60 Seconds This article is meant to assist decision-makers in efficiently hiring talent that will increase the likelihood that the new hire will produce and last. In today’s world of increased speed and technology the resume review has become the first interview, and serves to narrow the field quickly and identify candidates that will most likely produce and last.  So what should the hiring manager be looking for in the resume in the first sixty seconds to determine whether the candidate has passed the initial screen?

  1. Screen in candidates who are technically capable of doing the job and will be challenged in the position.Do the experience track record, education and certifications appropriately match the requirements for the position? Often the position titles indicate where the majority of the work experience was gained for that position. If you are looking for certain experience you should be able to find it in the resume quickly. If you are looking for a similar industry you should be able to find that quickly. It is the responsibility of the candidate to write a resume that explains what each company they worked at does and their size. Will the candidate be appropriately challenged. If the candidate has done the position and responsibility multiple times they may demonstrate traits that they are not challenged in the position.
  2. Screen in candidates whom you do believe there will be personality chemistry with.ResumeThe resume reveals the personality of the candidate. For example, if you like lengthy, thorough explanations then you are likely to prefer a candidate with a longer versus shorter resume. If you like information passed to you in a concise summary you will probably prefer a candidate with a short but impactful resume. What about the sentence structure? Short sentences indicate a person who gets to the point. Longer sentences can indicate a person who prefers lengthier, fuller explanations. What about relevancy and the ability to put the reader (Manager) first. Resumes which emphasize recent achievements do this. Resumes that have jobs 15+ years ago with as much information as the most recent job demonstrates a lack of effort in this key task; resume preparation. If they won’t prepare with the reader in mind in the resume stage how likely are they to prepare comprehensive yet well-communicated information for you once on the job? Does the candidate have a solid, track record of accomplishments stated in a direct, factual low-key manner rather than over promoting themselves in flowery language and excessive superlatives?
  3. How stable is this candidate? Are they willing to take appropriate risks?Look at the track record of the candidate. If they have switched companies excessively, quickly and randomly with little logic – then be prepared. They may not be with you very long either. History does repeat itself. There may be extenuating circumstances – if so the candidate needs to communicate that in the resume. On the other hand – if someone has been with one company for a very long time – they may be less likely to be able to adapt to new situations and take appropriate risks. An ideal candidate shows a track record of internal promotions while also having an exposure to several companies. They demonstrate a track record of achievements, promotions and added responsibilities over an extended period of time.
  4. How well will the candidate handle change and ambiguity?Screening In today’s competitive world the need to thrive in change and ambiguity is increasingly necessary. Does the resume demonstrate this? In the accomplishments area – is there evidence of creative solutions? Has the candidate lived in different places? Has the candidate worked in different job functions? While specialization becomes increasingly important later in careers – what evidence is there of the ability to thrive in different settings and culture?
  5. Trust your Instincts.Will the candidate fit-in? It has been said one should “hire for aptitude – fire for attitude.” That is nice, but the smart hiring manager wants their new hires to both produce and last, avoiding the expenses and liabilities from a bad hire. Therefore the hiring manger should think through whether the candidates’ attitudes will fit with your company for the longer-term. Will the candidate be able to pleasantly tolerate the internal dynamics of your department and company? In the end, does the resume feel right? It should have proper margins, spacing, grammar and layout. Trust your instincts. If you have a hard time figuring out the resume will you be later able to trust and rely on the person to help you make sound decisions in a timely manner?

TEN TIPS FOR WORKING WITH RECRUITERS

10 tips for working with recruiters

Recruiters can be extremely helpful to candidates in their job searches.  This is especially true if candidates follow these 10 tips for working with a recruiter. Through my years in recruiting and placement, I’ve seen candidates who employed these tactics be very successful.

1)   Sincerity: Be honest, genuine and sincere regarding your intentions to change jobs.  Recruiters want to work with job seekers who are sincere about changing jobs.  If you are just “thinking about “ changing jobs, share that with the recruiter and make a future ally for when the time comes that you really want to change positions.

2.)   Know your priorities: Be direct and clear about what your priorities are for your next position.  The more clear you are with a recruiter the more they can help you.  Your priorities should include work content desired, geography, commute, industry, cultural fit, work hours, any special needs and salary requirements (base pay, bonus and any relocation assistance required).

3.)   Know your strengths:  Tell the recruiter what your strengths are.  Be able to clearly share your strongest skills , including technically, interpersonally and in leadership attributes.

4.)   Be a STAR:  Be ready to share your best accomplishments in a STAR format:  What was a Situation you faced.  Task – What did you have to achieve?  Action – what action did you take?  This does not refer to the team – but what did you do individually?  Result – What was the result of your action.  If the result is quantifiable it is that much clearer and meaningful.

5.)   Have a Resume that Rocks: Winning resumes are well designed, and use  proper grammar and spelling.  They list responsibilities and accomplishments and focus  on the most recent positions.  Sentences are succinct and avoid jargon.  Check out the free software at www.fightthebull.com to ensure your writing is authentic and jargon-free.

6.)   Focus on communication:  Gain mutual commitment regarding methods and timings of communication with you.

7.)   Build chemistry and trust: Be sure you have acceptable chemistry and trust with the recruiter.  If chemistry and trust are absent, attempt to communicate your concerns with the recruiter and improve the situation.  If it still not acceptable – do not use that recruiter again.

8.)   Clarify expectations : Ensure expectations are clear.  Ask the recruiter for genuine feedback on your marketability and ask them to be real – and not to give you false hopes and expectations.  Ask if the recruiter thinks they can get you an interview. Ask what you can do to improve your chances for an interview.

9.)   Be reasonable: Have realistic expectations regarding your next position.   The best candidates are moving to new positions to work with a stronger company or because they are blocked in gaining expertise and substantive work growth in their current positions.

10.)  Understand your motivations: If you are moving for money or lack of appreciation in your current position – have that discussion with your Manager before you start the search.  Know where you are before you start so you can make the job search productive.

FIVE BIGGEST MISTAKES IN HIRING

… and what can be done to avoid them

Hiring the right people is critical to your success as a manager as well as the growth of your company.  If you or your staff has worked the extra hours required to cover a vacant position, the pain often adversely affects your personal life and your family.  Hiring the right person is of critical importance.

 

Mistake 1:  Not probing enough into why a candidate genuinely wants the position.

Managers hire for aptitude and fire for attitude.  What is it that causes the chemistry friction to build between two individuals that eventually results in termination or resignation?  The root of this problem is often that the candidate did not really want the job in the first place.  Many strong candidates want stable, steady hours, short commutes, flexibility, work/life balance as well as meaningful job content and increasing pay.  During the hiring process are the real expectations of the position shared with the candidate?  Did the candidate clearly and openly communicate their short and long-term occupational and personal priorities and goals?

 

Mistake 2:  Not learning from history – prior reasons for leaving.

Why did a candidate leave a certain job or stay in a job too long?  Ideally, there should be a track record of accomplishment, logic and consistency to a person’s career path and growth. Also, from an internal company perspective managers should identify why people previously left the position.  Meaningful exit interviews can reveal important information.  Building that knowledge into the next selection process can significantly reduce hiring mistakes.

 

Mistake 3:  Maintaining the status quo

When you are ready to hire a person it is often a stressful time.  If you are replacing someone, the first reaction is often self-justification that the job content was correct but the departed employee was either incompetent or a bad “personality” fit.  The quick fix, status quo approach can be to “let’s leave things the same, let’s just get a better match in there.”  However this is an opportunity to build the organization by addressing some questions:  Can some of the work be redistributed to meet career goals of the remaining staff?  Have you previously thought through potential internal promotion candidates?  What should your organization look like and what skills will be needed in three to five years?  With this in mind you can craft a prioritized skills and aptitude list to use in identifying relevant, qualified talent.

 

Mistake 4:  Hiring in your own image.

Many managers hire people like themselves – backgrounds, work experiences, values, type of schooling etc.  While there is a certain comfort, assumed loyalty and risk minimization in this approach it does not stretch or build the organization.  If a candidate is qualified and challenges your thinking during an interview but there is something that bothers you about them, don’t rule that candidate out prematurely.  Ask yourself why you are uncomfortable. If you can determine that you might be pushed out of your comfort zone – explore references, get other’s feedback and keep an open mind about that candidate.  He or she could be the one to help you build your organization to the next level and add to your depth and versatility as a Manager.  Additionally, if you hire externally that can be an added benefit if your company is struggling, needs to do things differently and/or values bringing fresh ideas and approaches into the organization.

 

Mistake 5:  Not Doing Careful Background and Reference Checks

There is a fairly high percentage of false information presented in resumes and job applications.   While it takes extra effort, not doing a careful background and reference checks almost always results in problems later.  Proper reference checks should include at least two recent, past managers.  Most prior mangers will communicate about prior employees, unless there were problems, whereby company policy is then often cited to not give references.  It has been my experience that references typically fall into three categories:  Some are glowing; “everyone thought the world of her or him”.  Others are ok.  “Candidate met job requirements”.  The last group are literally criticized by their past employer.  References always tell a story.  At a minimum, the hiring manager can understand a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and use that information to best on-board and develop the new hire.

INTERVIEW STRATEGY & PREPARATION

It is my opinion that a company will offer you a position if they feel you are the most qualified, interested and available candidate. Throughout the interview and at the wrap-up you should consistently reinforce that you are

qualified (can do), interested (want to) and available for this position. Be rehearsed and have your qualifications ready (technical competencies and experience, systems knowledge, industry knowledge and your interpersonal strengths). Your interest should be evidenced by interest in the job content, chemistry and career path you see at the new company.

PREPARE!

You most probably will not be the only qualified candidate considered. The deciding factors will be the way you present your skills and qualifications relevant to the position, how you conduct yourself during the interview, the image you project and the ‘chemistry’ you have with the hiring manager(s) and current team.

Understand the purpose of the interview. Most employers base hiring decisions on subjective information. Your past experience is usually a good predictor of your future success. It is up to you to help them understand what you have accomplished, how you have done it, and why you have made the choices you have. Rehearse your material in advance. Think of everything you have done that is related to the job you are seeking. Explain the challenges you have met successfully. Begin by explaining the problem, what steps you took to solve it, and the results. Time your responses to make sure they are not too long.

Stay away from any negative aspect of the industry or previous jobs. Know your skeletons and move on. Try to communicate the negative situation in a clear, short and concise manner. Also, be careful so as not to sound like a complainer about previous companies and bosses.

Review your resume thoroughly. Be able to talk about your experience without looking. Bring 3-5 copies of your resume. One for yourself, one for each person on the schedule and 1-2 extras. Though they should have copies it is good to be prepared. Bring to light any significant accomplishments or letters of recommendation.

Take a daily planner/portfolio along. In the planner, write your technical or job related questions. This makes them available to you. Also have it available to take notes. If there are questions that occur during the interview you would like to discuss, jot them down.

HAVE YOUR REFERENCES PREPARED

Even before you start interviewing you should have your references prepared. Dependable, effective references can be of assistance. Analyze who you will approach. Typically, employers want references who were your

manager in recent positions. It is expected that you should be able to supply three to five business references with at least two being prior Managers. If you are earlier in your career colleagues or college professors will suffice. Make sure your references are individuals that can comment on your qualifications for the job. Take into consideration the reference’s ability to communicate. A reference may think highly of you, but unless they can verbalize it to the employer, the employer may walk away with a different opinion. Once you decide someone would be a good reference, ask them if they would be willing to be a reference. Let your references know in advance when and by whom they will be contacted, the kind of position you are interviewing for and the skills and background needed. Develop a list of at least three to five professional references and have the list available to give to prospective employers when asked for them. Do not give the list out prematurely. You want to save your references for when you need them.

BEHAVIORAL BASED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Behavioral-based interviewing is becoming increasingly popular with companies. It is based on the premise that the best indicator of future success is past performance. Although it is not the only indicator, as a predictive tool,

past performance demonstrates the strongest correlation to future success.

Therefore, the most effective selection techniques tend to be anchored on an exploration, in behavioral terms of the candidate’s past performance. Evolving from this approach is the most efficient assessment technique – the structured, behaviorally based evaluation interview. It combines many different questioning techniques to accomplish its predictive objective. It is a flexible approach that must be adapted to each individual situation.

Behaviorally based questions are individually designed to uncover the candidate’s experience in solving problems, handling challenges, and producing results and it relates to that position. Typically they begin with one “broad” question and are followed by “probing” questions designed to get even more detail.

In answering behavior based questions it is best to use the “STAR” approach. Situation, Task, Action, Results. Listen to the question; describe the situation, the task, the action you took and the end result(s). Always provide results for this is when you truly sell your skills to the potential new employer.

IMPROVING THE HIRING PROCESS

I read a recent article from a recruiting industry association I belong to. The article states and I concur that hiring processes are often broken and should be improved. I suggest you review the summary below extracted from the article for your situation to improve your hiring process.

Now HiringThe broken hiring process includes too many interviews, and great candidates who “got away” or removed themselves from consideration. With more and more companies lamenting the dearth of qualified candidates, it’s even MORE important to make sure that good candidates don’t become disillusioned and drop out.

  • There are more job openings in the USA than qualified candidates to fill them. Many employers are falling victim to letting perfect be the enemy of good.
  • The estimated cost of a poor hire is as high as 2.5 times the person’s salary. Fear of a poor hire can lengthen the hiring process, but a longer process does not necessarily lead to improved outcomes.
  • Employers tend to focus on must-haves and rigid job descriptions. Recruiters may be motivated by speed and are sometimes frustrated that they don’t understand what the hiring manager wants.
  • Candidates, caught in the middle of a poor hiring process, lose interest. Sixty percent of candidates have removed themselves from the application process because it takes too long.

What’s the good news in all of this? It’s possible to improve the hiring process, and it may not even be all that difficult. Recruiters, such as Advance Resources can educate clients to do the following:

  • Segregate job requirements by must-have, should-have, and nice-to-have skills.
  • Focus on what the successful candidate will DO, not what the candidate will HAVE. Use action verbs to write these phrases.
  • Develop – and use – a scorecard to grade candidates on their interview performance and qualifications.
  • Get input from key team members on all of the above – others in the same role, those who work on the same team or in the same department, etc.
  • Make sure you ask the SAME interview questions of EACH candidate to ensure you’re evaluating fairly and on the same criteria.
  • Immediately after the interview, write down your top 2-4 observations while the interview is still fresh in your mind.
  • Emphasize soft skills that are important to your company’s culture to help attract the right types of candidates. Certain hard skills can be learned or honed on the job.
  • Review past hires for this kind of role. Which people were the most successful? Less-than-successful? What can you learn and use from these past experiences to improve your hiring process?

While no one wants to make a bad hire, prolonged vacancies have costs and negative consequences of their own. Look for ways to improve your hiring process so that you aren’t losing out on the best available talent.

If you would like to discuss how to improve your hiring process and hire “talent that produces and lasts” please contact me.