The Advisor’s Corner – Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?Question:

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Fact 1: No one can afford a bad hire!
Fact 2: Nationally, about 50 percent of hires, fail. Of those that succeed only about 20 percent are top performers.
Fact 3: 90 percent of failures are UNRELATED to brains and technical skills.
Fact 4: The cost of a bad hire is up to 2x the person’s annual salary and benefits… until you fire them or they leave. How much you lose depends on how awful they are and how much time, money, and productivity is flushed away in the meantime. Then… add another 2x to 2.5x their salary costs to replace them.
Fact 5: Turnover in any position costs you real money. Turnover of good people leaving because they don’t want to work with your bad hires, costs you even more.

Do I have your attention? This is not theory – it is fact. And yet… we hire most people and positions based on shiny new degrees and/or technical skills along with perceived or tested IQ. We now KNOW, for a fact, that EQ (Emotional Quotient/Intelligence) is far more important for success in most jobs, and definitely within leadership roles.

Still, we continue to hire and promote people, including leaders, largely for IQ and technical skill sets. “The best salesperson will surely be the best leader of other salespersons,” right? WRONG!

It just gets dumber and dumber. We keep getting the same lousy results and yet we have not substantively changed the hiring practices in most organizations. It is mind-boggling! I believe Albert Einstein had something clever to say about this phenomenon being related to insanity.

Whatever methods (legal and ethical of course) you use, you need to discover at least these SIX key things about your candidates BEFORE you hire.

A. Attitude: Is theirs one of abundance and can do, or scarcity and focused on obstacles?

B. Brains: Can they do the job or learn quickly how to do the job?

C. Character: What are their core personal values?

D. Drive: Are they self-motivated to achieve their goals and yours?

E. Experience: What have they done in the past that prepares them or makes them ready for what you want them to do now?

F. FIT: Will they truly FIT into your culture, your organizational values, help you accomplish your mission, and advance your vision?

If you said “NO” or “I Can’t Tell,” to even ONE of these questions about the candidate, do not hire that person. Seriously – don’t do it!

Trust the answers to your ABCDEF questions and trust your GUT. If the person doesn’t feel right to you or others, he/she probably isn’t right. In any case, it’s rarely, if ever, worth the risk to you and your team.


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

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