Why You Experience Too Many Mis-Hires (And What To Do About It)


We all know that getting the wrong person in the wrong job is costly all around: on the company side, it costs money, time, and productivity while on the incumbent side it costs time, confidence, and engagement. So then why, after all the effort your organization has put into attracting talent and creating a great company culture, do you experience mis-hires?

The answer is simple: your interview process is focused on the wrong information.

Most Interviews Have Become Contrived

The sheer amount of information available on hiring best practices ­on both the organizational and candidate sides ­ has made most interview scenarios feel contrived and superficial. The candidate's resume typically serves as the script from which the interviewer draws questions and candidate responds with prepared answers.

Even seemingly edgy or unconventional interview questions, such as hypothetical scenarios and logic problems, have lost their ability to rattle the carefully prepared candidate, thanks to a world of online resources and spotlight features on companies that utilize unique screening tactics (think Apple).

The truth is I believe that on some level, most of us know that interviews have become less about fact finding and fit assessing and more about auditioning for the opportunity to actually audition: hiring managers and candidates alike realize the real interview process will happen once they are in the job and performing Šonce the polite facades created by the artificial nature of hiring are removed.

Of course, this is the very reason why mis-hires are so costly Šbecause we've become complacent in our expectation that the interview process will help us truly determine fit in a significant way, meaning mis-hires are only caught after they¹ve started in the role.

If that seems as unacceptable to you as it does to me, I¹d like to turn your attention to the concept of setting Job Standards before you interview any candidates.

Catching The Mis-Hire ŠBefore It Actually Happens

My good friend and founder of Cleaver Company, John Cleaver, once asked if I ever experienced the pain of a "mis-hire" in my 30 years as bank CEO.

He then immediately followed that question by asking which interview questions had failed to inform us that the candidate was a mis-hire: did it have to do with education, previous work experience, personal projection, or any of the other dozen or so things interviewers ask about?

It was a trick question: mis-hires almost never have to do with any of those dimensions individually.

They have to do with all of them together in the context of the Job Standard.

In the simplest terms, a job standard is how the requirements of a job are weighted in importance and how each candidate measures against them accordingly.

Job standards help interviewers and hiring managers prevent mis-hires by focusing on the information that really matters in the application process and prevents them from 1) getting distracted by cool but irrelevant credentials and 2) changing their ideas of what they are looking for mid-application process.

John Cleaver taught me how to use the Job Standards tool 25 years ago, and I can honestly say it transformed the interview experience. Today, I am working to pass on the methods Cleaver taught me about Job Standards and so much more through the Cleaver Management School, a three-day intensive leadership program. Because from where I sit, in our modern economy, no company, regardless of how big and resourceful it is, can afford a mis-hire.

To learn more about the Cleaver's concept of Job Standards tool, click here, and click here to learn more about the Cleaver Management School.