How to Avoid Mis-Hires

April 11, 2007
Courtesy of Brad Smart, Smart & Associates. No one hires 100% high performers, and some experienced topgraders have shared the details of their occasional

Courtesy of Brad Smart, Smart & Associates.

No one hires 100% high performers, and some experienced topgraders have shared the details of their occasional mis-hires. All the companies are achieving better than 75% HIGH performers hired, and all are using the Topgrading Interview Guide, with tandem interviewers. The analyses of mis-hires disclosed seven problems, and recommended solutions are offered.
1. "Mary was great designing the new system, but when she tried to sell the organization, she p----ed everyone off." Recommendation: Be sure the job scorecard includes measurable accountabilities for all crucial parts of the job, not just a part of it. Mary was screened well for the designing but not the selling part of her job.
2. "The C player later said he didn't really understand the job." Recommendation: Show the job scorecard to candidates and arrange enough interviews that they can do proper due diligence on the job. A players usually demand to get thorough information on the job, but some aren't as requiring as they should be.
3. "Reference checks were glowing, but the previous jobs must have been a lot easier than ours." Recommendation: In reference checks, as in interview discussions of successes, failures, etc., get specifics. A person who worked in a French company 40 hours per week could be described by the boss as "working extraordinary hours," but if the job you're filling requires 60 hours, a mismatch could take place.
4. "Our tandem interviewers didn't grasp the significance of the mis-hire's two job failures out of six jobs." Recommendation: Hire people without 1/3 job failures. Why? Most jobs are more complex and challenging than originally expected. The #1 most important competency is resourcefulness, because resourceful people snatch success out of the jaws of defeat. In this case two job failures occurred when the new job was only slightly more complex than the current one. That in retrospect was a bright red flag!
5. "Our tandem interviewers didn't connect enough dots." Recommendation: Have managers conduct one tandem interview each quarter, minimum, to keep up the skills. Or, watch the 1-hour hiring video at least once per year. A serious mis-hire occurred, and when analyzing the costs and their collective failure, the interviewers concluded that they were simply too "rusty" to cope with a smooth, and in retrospect glib candidate.
6. "One of the tandem interviewers was just awful." Recommendation: Only permit skillful interviewers to conduct Tandem Topgrading interviews. The weaker interviewers can do 50-minute competency interviews, but don't let them cause mis-hires by dragging down tandem partners.
7. "Some interviewers cut corners - their interview guides contain few notes, few follow up questions." Recommendation: Require tandem interviewers to submit their completed notes for all interviews, not just ones where there was a mis-hire. Use a hiring checklist and require all steps to be taken in order for a job offer to be extended. I'm sorry to report that too many busy managers cut what should be a three-hour interview of a managerial candidate to one hour, and their mis-hire rates skyrocket!

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