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News & Features - May 2012

Top 10 Executive Hiring Blunders

Friday 11th May 2012

recruitment consultancy NGOIf you’ve been around for more than a few years, you are likely to recall occasions when a new hire was made for a senior role and the person turned out to be the colleague from hell.

Whose fault is it when the person you hired to overhaul the entire organisational IT system turns out to be short-tempered, a hopeless communicator and makes enemies of numerous department heads before the first month is up?

This is just one example of how hiring a senior executive can and does go very wrong when the hiring process is insufficient.

Research conducted shows that 56% of newly hired managers and executives fail. The ten most frequent mistakes made in hiring were found to be the following (in reverse order):

10. Desperation hiring – insufficient time planned for the recruitment in 55% of cases.

9. Ignoring top candidates’ needs – 55% of failed hires showed plenty of focus on organisation’s needs and little on top candidate needs.

8. Failure to probe for core success factors – With the top five predictors of long-tern success being self-motivation, leadership, comparable past performance, job-specific problem solving and adaptability, hirers failed to probe for these qualities in 56% of cases.

7. Fishing in shallow waters – in 62% of cases Only aggressive candidates were attracted whilst selective and sleeper candidates were overlooked in the search.

6. Performance bias – ‘Best actor’ was hired in 63% of cases as opposed to the best candidate.

5. Historical bias – used only past performance to predict future results (68%).

4. Snap judgment – Recruiter relied too heavily on first impressions in 72% of failed hirings.

3. Inappropriate prerequisites – in 76% of cases, hiring teams placed too much emphasis on specific education, technical skills and industry experience.

2. Superficial interviewing – backgrounds and claims were not probed deeply enough in 92% of failed hire cases.

1. Inadequate job descriptions – resulted in hiring process being solely focused on experience and skills and not on company expectations. In fact 93% of failed executive hires made this mistake at the outset.

By Rob Llewellyn – Business Transformation Consultant



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