How to Reduce New Hire Failure Rate – Part 1

Take a look at Jim’s video! –

New hire success rate is horrible.

  • 50% workers fail within first 6 months – Humetrics
  • 82% newly hired professionals “Miss the Mark” – Gallop
  • Less than 20% new hires are deemed a success – Center for Creative Leadership


I recently heard someone at a leadership conference blame new hire failure on the Millennials.  After all, they never stay at a new job.  Is it the Millennials or poor interviewing that is to blame for new hire failure?  Let’s concentrate on interviewing…

My job affords me to sit through hundreds of interviews. By-and-large, hiring managers at these reputable companies are coming to their interviews untrained and unprepared. This leaves managers making hiring decisions from incomplete or misleading information and relying on gut-feel to find a match.  These ‘shoot from the hip’ hiring practices pervade corporate America and are largely to blame for new hire failure and turnover.

Often, we end up hiring someone because we like him. Or because he reminds us of someone else who was successful at our company.  These managers often screened closely for skills and experience level, and many times grill and test candidates to demonstrate their technical know-how. If he has the skills we need, and we like him…he’s hired! But then what happens?  The person doesn’t work out. Our clients are telling us that the top two reasons new employees don’t work out are:  Number 1 – Person didn’t fit in.  Number 2 – Person didn’t produce. In my estimation “Number 2” has a lot to do with “Number 1.” If you don’t fit in you rarely produce.

Here is a cold hard fact. We hire people for what they know, and fire them for who they are.  Too many hiring managers are screening only for what a candidate knows (skills), and not screening for who they are (traits).  Don’t get me wrong, an applicant needs a certain base-level of skills and experience to deliver in today’s fast paced environment.  Beyond that, it is all about fit.  If the person fits in, he is more highly engaged in his work and strives to do his best.  A person who fits in is a person who adapts and delivers value in the long run. Isn’t that what all hiring managers are looking for?

So how do you screen for fit?  The first step is to identify your team’s core values.  Your core values are the traits that team members need in order to fit in and succeed. Identifying these traits should be a collaborative effort. Meet and discuss current and past employees who were successful and those that failed. Spend time identifying the traits these people possessed. Besides writing them down and posting them up in your office, what should you do with those core values once they are identified? You hire, fire and promote according to your core values! Core values are the building blocks of a successful culture.

To reduce new hire turnover, incorporate techniques in your screening process to deliberately identify applicants who are a fit with your values. Then, be willing to risk sacrificing skills in order to obtain fit. This is the only long-term solution to effective team building.


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