Why am I hiring a champion one month and a dud the next?

It must be one of the most frustrating aspects of being a manager and business owner, no matter what you do there is a level of inconsistency in the selection process that would never be tolerated in other parts of your business.

Which begs the question: “Why are most managers happy with the inconsistency of recruitment? Well they must be happy because I do not see them challenging the situation and actively looking for a better way!”

The ability to consistently select champions of the future is hampered by the following areas:

  1. Not Understanding The Role
    Everyone knows what learnable skills and knowledge is required to perform in a role, and this is easily validated by the applicants’ resumes (although with over 60% of all resumes containing blatant untruths, exaggerations and/or strategic omissions, maybe it is not as easy as everyone thinks).

However, there is not enough thought invested into what type of individual is required, and by type I am talking about their heart, mind and soul. If you accept that employee engagement is the greatest driver of productivity, revenue, profitability and customer service levels, then surely you MUST understand what type of person you want to employ, not just focus on their skills, knowledge and experience.

How can anyone effectively attract and select the ideal employee if they do not know what they are looking for in the first place, it is akin to going out to study koalas without knowing what a koala actually looks like.

  1. Cut & Paste Job Advertisements
    My philosophy on the attraction process is quite simple: “You will have a 100% failure rate of selecting the best candidate if that candidate does not apply for your role in the first place”

    The combination of using traditional job advertisements (all about the employer, do not answer the key question on the applicant’s lips, “What’s in it for me?”), including barriers that are not really valid (ie tertiary qualifications, exaggerated experience etc) and just advertising in Seek or similar with no deep thought on where your ideal candidate can be reached, results in a strategy of principally targeting individuals that are either currently unemployed or dissatisfied with their current employer. In one foul swoop you have reduced your candidate pool from 100% to 21.5%. The chances of having multiple high quality candidates in your shortlist has now been dashed, leaving you with the feeling that you are now just making sure you select the best of an average bunch instead of the elation of selecting a future champion.

  2. Poor Candidate Interview Preparation
    It continues to amaze me how little time hiring managers use to prepare for the first interviews. If you consider that a $60K employee is equivalent to more than a $180K investment over three years, most hiring managers would spend more time researching a $2,000 television purchase than they do preparing for a candidate interview.

  3. Not Using Science To Increase The Odds Of Success
    When the science of psychometric assessments can increase the success rate of selecting future high performers by up to 300%, I fail to understand why management teams are reluctant to incorporate these tools into the selection process. In all other areas of the business (IT, HRIS, Operations, Finance, Strategy, Investment, Acquisition, Sales, Customer Service) technology is not only embraced it is relied on for future business success, and yet when it comes to the hiring process there is a mental block. Maybe it is because experience managers possess the innate belief of “I know how to hire winners”, the only problem is that if you ask any of these managers how many of their existing employees would they unreservedly re-employ tomorrow, and they were being totally candid, the answer would be only 65% to 80%. That translates into 20% to 35% of employees being not-yet-competent or, more bluntly, are under-performers, they are not paying their way, they are a cost to the business not an asset.

The available data reflects the negative effects of the traditional attraction and selection processes:

graph1This study clearly demonstrates that selection is an information game; the more relevant information you have the better will be your hiring decision. By measuring “fit” there is a three fold increase in the success rate of selecting future high performers.


The traditional selection process (resume, interview and references) delivers only 26% of the relevant information about a candidate in a particular role. It is no coincidence that Australian managers only rate about 25% of their direct employees as being proven high performers.


All business owners and managers should find these study results truly frightening. 43% of Australian employees are detractors, in other words 43% of employees would not recommend that their friends and family work where they work!

If the above does not prompt management teams and HR professionals to rethink their attraction and selection strategies, then I can only assume that they are happy with their high performers carrying the burden of their poor performers on their shoulders. Of course the high performers may get tired of carrying the others and could leave; maybe this is just the acceptable cost of not risking change.

For more information, please contact us at info@peoplogica.com or (02) 9936-9000.