Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

6 Reasons We Hire the Wrong Employees

All employers want to hire the best employees. So why is it that we often find, despite our good intentions and thorough recruiting processes, that we still end up with employees who are not a good fit for our organization? This wastes time and money. Why do we do it?

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“Interesting new research found, [in] tracking over 20,000 employees who were hired who were let go or terminated within 18 months, that only 11 percent were let go because they couldn’t do the job,” Mel Kleiman advised in a BLR webinar. What does this tell us? It tells us that we don’t have a problem in identifying who can’t do the job. And it’s not a point of training them. So we need to look even earlier in the hiring process.

6 Reasons We Hire the Wrong Employees

Why do we hire people who are not a good fit? Here are 6 reasons:

  1. Shortages. There will never be a shortage of applicants, but there will always be a shortage of star employees. There are never enough truly high-caliber hires available, especially the moment we need them.
  2. Desperation hiring. Most of the time, we hire someone when we have a need that must be filled immediately. We don’t have the luxury of time to really search for the best employees.
  3. Turkeys disguise themselves as eagles. In other words, even bad applicants can ace interviews. This happens a lot, and you may be surprised to know that quite often poor employees actually do have good interview skills. “In most cases, they are absolutely better at interviewing than the people doing the interviewing. You know why? They get lots of practice.” Kleiman explained.In fact, it may not even be difficult to ace an interview because interviewers work to put the interviewee at ease. Interviewers even often start the interview by telling the interviewee what they’re looking for, and the interviewee simply has to parrot it back.
  4. Eagles sometimes look like turkeys. In other words, first impressions can be wrong. “Most of us make a decision whether we like somebody or not in the first 14 seconds. And if we don’t like them, we look for reasons not to hire them,” Kleiman warned. If we’re not careful, this propensity to make a snap judgment can easily make us overlook someone who would have been a good employee if we had given them the chance.
  5. Interviewers are not trained. They don’t have a structured set of interview questions that will truly help you get to what you need to know. Often the interviewer is simply the supervisor who will be working with the employee and he or she has to learn interview skills by trial and error. When you look at this situation from the outside, it’s easy to see that it’s not ideal for finding the best employee.
  6. Not setting the bar high enough OR setting the bar too high. Sometimes we accept mediocrity because we need to fill the position. And sometimes we want so badly to have the ‘perfect’ employee that we dismiss everyone we see. Everyone has flaws. What we should be looking for is the best possible fit that will work.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is the founder of Humetrics Inc., which helps employers standardize and systemize the way they recruit, select, and retain frontline hourly employees and their managers. He is recognized as one of the foremost authorities in his field due to his cross-industry experience and groundbreaking research work.