Job safari Featured

5:37am EDT June 30, 2003
I recently spoke with a business owner who was bemoaning the fact that he had hired what he thought would be an excellent employee to handle an important sales support position which required extensive interaction with customers and employees.

Now, that "excellent" hire was no longer with the business.

After six frustrating and costly months, the owner let the employee go. Factor in the damage to customers the employee caused, and the grief and resulting loss of productivity felt by other employees, and the actual costs are high.

How could an "excellent" hire turn into a dud? Because this business owner, like so many others, used the wrong criteria to make his decision.

Often, a candidate seems to have all the technical skills to perform the requirements of the position and has excellent interviewing skills. So how can you go wrong?

Considering the cost of a bad hire, why take chances? Studies have shown that the factors with the greatest impact on an employee's performance are not interviewing skills, appearance or even knowledge, training or credentials. Instead, they are attitude, self-motivation, maturity, capacity to learn and behavior patterns.

This is why so many employees get hired for their skill and fired for their fit.

Avoiding hiring mistakes -- or at least minimizing them -- requires more investment in the process before the hire to reduce the cost after a bad hire. The key is to learn as much as you can about the candidate during the pre-hire process.

Invest sufficient time in the interview process, including multiple interviews and meetings with company managers and key employees. Ask not just technical and experience-based questions but also behavioral-based questions.

However, to really find out how the candidate rates on those most important behavioral-based performance factors, consider an assessment tool, which can provide a look into the candidate's behavior and work ethic that interviews alone cannot.

Knowledge is power. In hiring and retention, this power can help achieve a strong, stable work force with the right people in the right places. Joel Strom (jstrom@jsagrowth.com) is director of Joel Strom Associates, LLC, the growth management practice of C&P Advisors LLC. The firm works exclusively with closely held businesses and their ownership, helping them set and achieve growth objectives while maximizing their profitability and value. Contact him at (216) 831-2663.