How certain are you about a candidate?

How certain are you about a candidate ?

The consequences of a bad choice - how to avoid them !

You are looking for the best candidate for a position. A candidate who fits not only technically but also fits into the team in which he/she is going to work. On top of that, he/she should enrich corporate culture.

Sometime after starting this job, it might turn out that fit was not so good after all. technically excellent but not in cooperating with colleagues or in his/her attitude towards the corporate culture.

The consequences of a wrong choice.

Missing value add in the organisation

A mismatch means a loss .... in first place for the candidate, but also for the organisation. The incomplete or missing output of the chosen candidate actually has the biggest impact, but is often overlooked because everybody is reluctant to admit to have made a mistake here. In the best case, the desired added value in this job, the team or the company is not achieved. In the worst case, negative impact occurs when subsequently wrong decision cause material and immaterial damage.

The cost side

How much has been invested in these candidates before and after hiring and must be viewed in the worst case as a loss? For a calculation, we assume that such a case emerged after 6 to 9 months and that the one year employment contract is not extended.

The following components are taken into account to come to a profound approximation:

  • The generation of a regular Job- and Organisation-requirement profiles.
    • The cost for advertising and candidate selection.
      On equal level with costs for recruitment agencies (publication and preselection)
    • The final selection: valued a few days work.
    • The salary of this employee covering the first year, assuming this employee had any useful contribution.
    • The employer costs and possibly additional payments during this year.
      Accounted for 50% (some contribution delivered)
    • The time colleagues spent on introducing the employee to the job, training, etc.
    • The firing process:

    Assumption: The (first) year contract is not renewed or the employee takes initiative to look for a new job elsewhere and leaves the company. With an open ended contract there will be termination-costs. The above stated cost components add up to 110% **) of a gross-annual-salary (mainly in form of cash expenses).

    *) the "Pro Memoriam" items are also important but do strongly depend on the specific case and form only a small portion of the total expenses. Thus neglected in this summary.
    **) this is related to the Dutch labour market. In the USA these costs are reported to be about 50%-60% of the gross-annual-salary. (Katie Bouton, recruiting for Cultural Fit, juli 2015, Harvard Business review (1)) Only this is a different labour market and a different labour culture where firing can take place within one day.

    The overall consequences of a wrong choice

    In addition to the total estimated cost of 110% of the gross annual salary even the lost value added (i.e. the expected sales increase through the contribution of the employee), then an estimate of 150% of the gross annual salary is realistic. In a "worst case" scenario in which damage is caused by an employee the consequences are significantly larger. In addition to costs a mismatch can also cause delays in achieving project or company goals and frustration throughout the organisation. Damage that cannot be expressed in money value. Furthermore the recruiting and hiring process has to start (this time unplanned) anew.

    The chosen candidate has, rightfully or not, also an opinion and frustration of his/her own about the early breach of the working relationship. And in today\'s time, this quickly finds its way into the Social Media and can damage the reputation of the organisation, justified or not.

    Causes contributing to a mismatch in the selection process

    The consequences of a wrong choice have been mentioned; now, what are was the root causes? This question is answered by GITP. (Louis van Woerden, PiCompany, member of the GITP (2))

    The sheep with five legs

    Many companies are looking for all-round-champions. More than ever, driven by pure economic interest want universally deployable employees.

    When an employee drops out through termination of his/her working contract or illness the vacant position must be filled immediately by any other employee without loss of traction. Only that\'s not possible. Such "wild cards" don't exist. For a soccer team no coach searches for players which can be goalie, defender and striker at the same time. If the company does not make firm choices in defining the job profile the position will be vacant for a long time or will hire people knowing a little of everything and don't excel in any circumstances. In both cases the company will not benefit.

    Hard job requirements are sacred

    Employers judge potential employees against "hard facts". Applicants look more out for "softer" components.

    When hiring, many companies have only eyes for hard job requirements, such as training, professional experience and knowledge. This is really crazy. Because when justifying premature termination the topics are competence, does not fit into team, is not in line with company culture etc. Basically, people are hired based on CV and fired based on behaviour. More attention to the personality and the consequent competencies would increase the effectiveness of the selection process and prevent such disparities.

    No compliance with the corporate culture

    To reduce risks employers require increasingly higher quality CVs, ignoring to check if the candidate fits into their organisation.

    The match of company culture and the personality of the new employee determines whether the new employee feels at home in this company or not. This aspect is often overlooked in the selection process. Of course, it is good, if you as a company have a fresh views when searching for young talent, but when the personality is in contrast to the culture of the company, it will not work. People cannot cope with it. It has to fit, or at least there needs to be a base that allows to contradict. Otherwise the new employee is gone soon or laid off.

    The quick short-term solution

    Instead of stopping for a moment and determine what is really required, the only thing that seems to count is filling the vacant position as fast as possible. As a consequence the pressure on the HR department is increased such that some basic requirements are waived.

    Todays vacant position is preferred over a better long term solution tomorrow. Questions like "what does my department really need to achieve the company\'s goals in the coming years?", remains neglected. Short term thinking of the responsible management is often punished in the long run. Managers should anticipate upfront: "Suppose an employee leaves us, what kind of staff do I need for the future?"

    Last but not least

    Also GITP points out, that in online search processes little attention is given to soft-skills, competences and company culture.

    How can mismatches be avoided?

    Much is written about this. Basically, it comes down to carry out the steps in the recruitment and selection process professionally and not be misled to go for a hasty, short-term solution.

    Pay special attention to the mentioned causes:

    • A strong job profile, that explicitly states the required "soft skills" and the company culture. Also take into account the future directions planned for job and company. Be clear and decisive and don't look for a "sheep with five legs".
    • 360-view and consolidated job and organisation profile (also online!, TRiNGiNE offers an online solution (3))
    • A profound preselection of candidates, where in addition to the 'hard' requirements (training, experience) also the soft skills and the fit with the corporate culture ("culture fit") is tested. (Also herefore TRiNGiNE Tools (4) are offered.)
    • In the final selection, plan your selection process carefully (and explain it to the candidate), including with whom meetings are planned and when. It helps to be well prepared. You can include the selection criteria and analysis of previous tests.

    (1)Katie Bouton, "recruiting for Cultural Fit", juli 2015, Harvard Business review
    and the society for Human Resource Management;
    (2)Louis van Woerden, PiCompany, part of GITP
    (3)TRiNGiNE , "Jobtest"
    TRiNGiNE , "Jobmatching based on behaviour"
    (4)TRiNGiNE , "Organisationtest"
    TRiNGiNE, "cultural fit" Organisationtest