Call it what you will – bad hire, panic hire, desperation hire – the end result is the same. A competitive labor market, a shortage of people with specific skills and non-productive employee recruitment and hiring practices can lead to hiring "just anyone." The problem is that hiring "just anyone" is an expensive proposition in many ways.
Skipping employee pre-employment evidence-based assessments and simulations and the standardized interview to hire on first impressions is a recipe for a costly hiring mistake. The tangible and intangible costs include lost customers, damaged department morale, expensive position replacement costs and lower productivity. Thoroughness through assessments and interviews, plus some patience applied to the hiring process, can mitigate the risks of making a bad hire out of desperation.
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Justifying The Desperate Hire?
Are you desperate to fill a position? If so, you are not alone because the continuation of an expanding economy and low employment has made it difficult to keep positions filled, especially hourly jobs. On October 3, 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low, while the number of new jobs continued to increase. All industries are feeling the labor pinch too – retail, hospitality, restaurant, customer services, home health care, manufacturing and technology are just a few.
Some jobs can be filled with people who may not have the desired experience but are willing to learn new skills. They are hired, despite the lack of experience and skills, because the manager believes it is fairly easy to train the new hire. Some job applicants will have experience in an unrelated industry and are hired on the assumption the skills are transferrable to the new position without much training. There are job applicants who seem to have the right skills and experience (per a resume) but have a type of personality that does not mesh well with the job. They are hired because they "look good on paper," so to speak.
These are just a few types of justifications leading to the hiring of someone who turns into a bad hire. Managers hire the wrong person because the person reminds him or her when she was younger or the job candidate seems like such a nice person. Sometimes, hiring managers simply do not have good leadership skills. There are many times the manager just wants the process to be done, so goes for speedy rather than thoughtful hiring.
Find Me Anyone!
Panic hiring can actually begin with the recruitment process. "Find me someone, anyone!" the contact center manager tells Human Resources out of desperation.
The current staff is overloaded with work while one or more positions remain unfilled, and morale is sinking. So the manager cuts the recruitment process short and hires the first people to come along, and the real trouble begins.
The consequences of a bad hire made out of desperation can include:
- Longer customer response times due to poor job fit
- Lost customers
- Lower team productivity due to members training new employee or trying to cover the work of the bad hire
- Increased manager and staff stress levels
- Higher turnover rate
- Harmed company brand or reputation for delivering quality service
- Increased error rate
- More management time spent overseeing the employee's performance
- Lowered employee engagement
Research has found that half of hourly employees will leave their new job within four months. You invest time and money in recruiting, hiring and onboarding an employee, and just about the time the person should be reaching a fairly high level of productivity, he or she leaves. It may be the bad hire recognizes a mismatch of skills, personality, job requirements and/or organizational culture. Unfortunately, many times the manager must terminate the employee. Either way, months of training are lost, the position is once again unfilled, and the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process restarts.
No Steps Skipped
It is estimated a hiring mistake, desperate or not, costs the company up to 30 percent of the person's annual compensation per the U.S. Department of Labor. Add the wages or salary paid while the person was working, the benefits costs, the cost of training, the hours spent recruiting and reviewing job applications, advertising fees, lost productivity and perhaps legal fees (if terminating the employee does not go well), and the real cost of a bad hire, even for an hourly worker, is going to be much more than 30 percent.
Since 95 percent of companies make bad hires, there is no doubt many of them are panic hires. The way to avoid desperation hiring is to establish a recruitment and hiring process that ensures no steps are skipped and appropriate tools and processes are used in every situation.
- Skills assessments – Evidence-based assessments are crucial to evaluating a job candidate's skills. Even more important, they can assess specific skills needed. Whether hiring a contact center employee or a new supervisor or a tech worker or any other type of employee, a skills assessment and job simulation can focus on the general and specific skills the employee possesses.
- Personality assessments – Having the right skills is simply not enough for job success. The person has to fit into the organization's culture and be able to work with co-workers in a productive and collaborative manner. Personality assessments can assess motivation, collaborative skills, conflict resolution abilities and so on.
- Behavioral interviewing – Video or personal interviews are invaluable, but this particular type of interviewing has a specific format. Job candidates are asked to provide examples of past experiences in prior positions in response to directed questions related to the job the person is applying for.
- Customized assessments – Depending on the position and needs of the organization, you may want to develop customized job candidate assessments.
Maintain High StandardsTarget your recruiting efforts, and take adequate to assess job candidates and make a good decision. Assessments can help fill gaps in the hiring manager's interviewing skills and can provide the reference point needed for good decision-making. It may get frustrating for a bit when a position remains unfilled, but a bad hiring decision is not a solution. It only creates new problems. Always maintain the highest talent process standards, and insist any leaders that report to you do the same also.