A Tale of Two Candidates (Pick the Worse Scenario)

Here is an all too realistic failed recruiting situation … actually two of them and I am curious to see which one you think is worse.

New Hire #1

John is a top performer at your biggest competitor and, by all accounts, was a big success. You’ve been working him for a while and finally you land him. High fives all around and he starts. Unfortunately, after a couple months the rumbling starts. Then the rumbling turns into a rant … a loud, in your face, how could you hire this a-hole screech. John is struggling to reach the expectations goal-wise and he is just a complete dumba&* socially. He turns into an outcast and a couple months later eventually goes back to his original company, your competitor, with everything he just learned about you.

New Hire #2

Susan is a bit of an unknown in your industry but no matter. She has proven herself in sales roles outside your space and you think she will bring a fresh perspective. She starts and immediately clicks with the team. She falls into the social scene fast and gets along with everyone. But, she routinely fails to even come close to performance expectations. This fact is brought up occasionally but the discussion is a non-starter as she is “too well liked by the team” and “contributes in other ways.” This goes on and on and Susan goes no where. Your VP of Sales is struggling to meet his numbers and is under fire from the CEO. Finally, the VP of Sales goes, Susan remains and continues to struggle.

So, which is worse? Which situation costs you more?

Here is my take. Return on Hire means more than turnover. Traditional HR measures would ignore Susan and show John to be a bad hire. But John was only there for a few months. Yes, its turnover and costs you money. But try to measure the impact of Susan …it’s bad and just keeps getting worse. Remember, she is still there.

New hire flameouts suck. They attract all the wrong attention and, in talent acquisition, you probably only have a few of them before people wonder about you. But this is the wrong approach. Massive recruiting failures like John are just going to happen. We hire humans and we, as a bunch, are a hot mess of drama and unpredictability. But it’s the Susan’s of the world that, when left unchecked, break companies because we allow the walking dead to roam the hallways, never contributing in the way we expected.

That’s my take. Would love to hear yours.

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Now it’s off to speak at the Garden State SHRM conference in Atlantic City and then HR Tech Europe in Amsterdam. If we are going to cross paths in either place, make sure to say Hi.

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