The No. 1 Reason For Making Bad Job Hires

A while back, I interviewed a lady that would make a great recruiter.

She was high energy, great on the phone, could source and an HR degree. She applied for the job we had open for a recruiter, and I was 100 percent positive she would have accepted the position if I would have offered it.

I didn’t.

She wasn’t a “fit.”  The job she truly wanted, her “dream” job, was in straight HR, not recruiting. She was willing to recruit, but she really didn’t want to recruit.  In the end, we walked away from a terrific candidate.

Poor job fit is the No. 1 reason most people fail at a job.

What makes up “job fit?”

Organizations spend so much time and resources ensuring they’re hiring the right skills, but most totally fail when it comes to organization and job fit.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not easy to determine organizational fit. Sure you can design an assessment, do peer interviewing, etc. But it always seems like a moving target, and it is.

Job fit also has multiple components:

  1. The job you have open;
  2. The company culture;
  3. The job the candidate actually wants to do;
  4. The job the candidate is willing to do and how good of an actor they are to prove to you that is the real job they want;
  5. Your inability to see that your perception of the candidate, and their perception of themselves, doesn’t align.

Do you track this on exit interviews?

How many of you have “Poor Job Fit” as a reason for termination on your exit interview form?

My guess is almost none of you do. Most managers and HR pros will list things like performance, personality conflict, attitude, low skill set, personal reasons, schedule, etc. We don’t want to use something like “Poor Job Fit” because what that really says is, “We suck at our jobs!”

The reality is that probably 75 percent of your terminations are because of poor job fit.

You hired someone with the skills you wanted, but the job you have doesn’t use or need most of those skills. The job you have doesn’t meet the expectation you sold to the candidate. The job you have isn’t really the job the person wants.

Most organizations would be better off to hire for fit than for skills. That’s a true statement. HR pros hate to hear that, because it discounts a lot of what we do. 

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Job fit is the key to retention – not skills. Find someone who wants to be a recruiter and they probably will be a decent recruiter.

HR pros hate to hear that – because it discounts a lot of what we do.  Job fit is the key to retention – not skills.  Find someone who wants to be a recruiter, and they probably be a decent recruiter. Find someone with great skills who doesn’t want to be a recruiter – and they’ll be a terrible recruiter.

What you really need to be asking candidates

In almost every occupation where you don’t need professional certifications (doctor, lawyer, CPA, etc.) this holds true. I know a great accountant who never went to accounting school, and he was better than anyone I’ve met you graduated from accounting school. Some of the best teachers never went to college to become a teacher – but they love teaching.

Do one thing for me the next time you interview a candidate for a job – ask them this one question:

If you could have any job, in any location, what job would you select? Why?

Their answer doesn’t have to be the job they’re interviewing for to be the “right” answer. Their answer should be in line with what you’re asking them to do — or you’re going to have a bad fit.

Either you will eventually be terminating them, or, they will eventually be resigning.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


1 Comment on “The No. 1 Reason For Making Bad Job Hires

  1. It is the same for taking a job. When I was Ass. Chief of Staff for Mayor Bob Lanier, City of Houston (strong mayor system), I was offered Ass. Gov. Relations Director within the same Executive Staff for Mayor Lanier. It came with a $12,000 yearly raise. When I turned it down, my boss, the Chief of Staff was curios as to why I would turn down a job that had such a bump in salary and gave me the opportunity to work at the TX Capitol where I had already ran 3 Committees. I told him that 1) why work for someone who has less experience than I did as far as understanding State government; 2) A person who was also jealous of that fact; 3) It would be a step down from my current position; and 4) She was an individual who let her emotions control her too much considering the position she held. Once he took in all my reasons, he completely understood, and it was never discussed again. Money is not everything, but enjoying your job is. The job did not “fit” me, therefore, I turned it down.

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