Posted in: Opinion

Seven In Ten Businesses Affected By A Bad Hire: Whose Fault Is It?

Unemployed

The US has an overwhelming record number of unemployed or underemployed citizens either looking for work or who have given up entirely. Steadfast to the cause, people have been in search of consistent recession-proof employment without the words temp or seasonal included in the job description.

Initially, the unemployed hunt within their own pool of interest and experience based on work history and education. Discouragingly, some potential employers get back, if at all, with disappointing news. People are told they are too educated, not educated enough, dressed too casually or too formally in the interview. Applicants are misled by entry level positions that would otherwise not require experience, but interviewees are told they don’t have enough. How can you have experience for an entry level position if no one will hire you in order to gain experience?

Some businesses go through the motions of listing a position publicly, knowing the company intends to hire from within. Yet they leave the external applicant to meander in a limbo of false hope, unaware they’ll never be a real candidate for the position.

People are directed to apply online, not in person or on paper. The Rorschach-like litany of questions almost verge on the absurd in order to assess the applier’s psychological profile.

Online application question (seriously, not made up): Which one most represents you?

“I like to take long walks in the afternoon.”

“I like to stand all day in a loud, noisy environment.”

Another example, “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy? Or how would you move a mountain?”

Its like dating, we don’t want games. We just want to answer a serious series of questions and see if we’re considered for follow up, i.e., another date.

The internet provides resume and follow up tips, suggesting the best ways to get noticed, to be unique. But everyone does it. People try to decode the right cliché that worked for the other guy.

In general, most hiring managers do not seem to have a list of pre-employment etiquette to adhere to other than reviewing your resume and qualifications. They don’t have to call you back. They don’t have to email and explain exactly why the company did not want to hire you. Some are annoyed when you follow up; others take it as sign of disinterest when you don’t. And yet reps are put off if months later they finally contact you to see if you want to interview, and you’ve finally found work elsewhere and can’t because you’re working day shift. It’s frowned upon for new hires to take time off to interview elsewhere and impossible to squeeze it in during a 30-minute lunch. You fear getting let go if you leave for the job you really wanted in the first place with no guarantee that risking the interview will get you the job.

It’s very confusing on the side of the job seeker.

Gone are the days where you could walk in anywhere, apply in person, and get an interview the same day.

Dejected and facing the pressuring need to pay bills, people acquiesce into taking any random job they can get for much less money, less benefits if any at all, and a less than suitable work environment than they are accustomed to.

The chronically unemployed are stigmatized, feeling as though branded with the assumption they were let go for poor performance. If that were the case more stock traders and politicians, who barely do their jobs, would be in the unemployment lines with us.

Maybe the misunderstanding of how the hiring process works explains why seven in ten businesses are affected by a bad hire. However, according to a study published by Careerbuilder, businesses attribute a bad hire to managers feeling they’ve been rushed to make a decision. The job needs to be filled immediately and a lack of sufficient talent can also contribute to taking on a bad hire.

For the unemployed stressing out about whether or not their mortgage will be paid next month, it doesn’t seem as though hiring managers are leaping to quick decisions. The perception is that companies take an inordinately long time to respond to an applicant. What we as outsiders don’t realize is that, with this economy, a single job posting can yield as many as two hundred replies, half of those even being applicable for the job. The rest are not especially interested in the job, simply in desperate need of one.

The Careerbuilder stats show nearly one in four employers’ reports that a bad hire costs them more than $50,000. The loss is assessed by having to repost, rehire, and retrain a new applicant, while taking a hit of lost productivity. 41 percent of businesses estimate the loss to be closer to $25,000.

Rosemary Haefner, VP of human resources at CareerBuilder, says in response to these numbers:

“Whether it’s a negative attitude, lack of follow through or other concern, the impact of a bad hire is significant. Not only can it create productivity and morale issues, it can also affect the bottom line.”

The majority of bad hires were those who were unable to produce a proper quality of work, or work well with others, followed by having a negative attitude and abrupt attendance problems.

How do you feel about the current job market? Where do you feel the faults lie when it comes to the hiring process? Should hiring processes be more standardized? For example, should hiring managers be required to contact applicants they know for certain they will not be hiring, so that the person can confirm status and move on?

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