Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hiring Roulette

Among the all-time debates with no answers such as: nature or nurture; chicken or egg and of course DiMaggio or Mays there remains the nagging one of hiring or retention.

What is tougher, making a good hiring decision or retaining "A" players once you find them? These are issues that probably have been studied, surveyed, poked and prodded by more organizations than have sworn off applicant matching systems, attitude surveys and exit interviews combined, but that doesn't mean that we don't keep on looking for the answers even though much of the time the results in the real world make us think that our resident guru is Monty Python rather than McKinsey.

But undaunted, we keep trying, and even though the study will be a year old come October, the Corporate Executive Board and more specifically the Recruiting Roundtable which is a subsidiary of CEB released the results of a significant study last October which they say was the first of its kind in that they tried to actually identify the key reasons why more than 50% of the hiring organizations or the new hires themselves regret the decisions they made.

When one thinks of the time, energy and money that is focused on the issues of hiring and retention, this is not a number that generates optimisim on either side of the debate.

In any case and for sure, the issue is certainly not going to be solved here, but nonetheless I thought the study was of sufficent interest to share in the event there were those who might not have seen it or like me, had forgotten about it as we are wont to do. Even so, the data has lost none of its importance to any one of us who sit on either side of the desk:

The study details several contributing factors, including that 40% of new hires report the information they received about the job when they were applying was less than accurate. Overall, only half the time will organizations and new hires achieve a win-win outcome where both agree that they made the right decision.

"Given the high cost of early career turnover, organizations cannot afford to make the wrong hiring decisions," says Senior Director Donna L. Weiss. To save millions, the Roundtable aims to help organizations reach that win-win outcome closer to 100% of the time. After analyzing data from more than 8,500 hiring managers and 19,000 of their most recent hires, the Roundtable identified three important reasons organization fail to consistently hire high quality candidates:

(1) they over-rely on candidates describing themselves rather than having them demonstrate what they can do,

(2) they don't follow a consistent, evidence-based selection decision process and

(3) they fail to provide the candidate with enough information and 'experience' about what the job is really like.

Based on detailed quantitative analysis and over 100 interviews, the Roundtable has identified 10 key strategies that organizations can deploy to improve their selection processes.

One recommended approach is to move beyond the traditional selection process to include an experiential component to the process. Weiss adds, "By providing candidates with an experience that is either 'on-the-job' or that is key to job success, organizations can better observe a candidate's capabilities and a candidate can get a better sense of what the job is really like. This is one way to drive to more win-win outcomes."
If you felt the information in the study was interesting and/or helpful, on Friday, August 21st at 1:00 p.m Eastern, you might also want to consider joining Leah Haunz Johnson who is the Senior Director of the Corporate Leadership Council of CEB’s Human Resources Practice. Leah is going to be the featured presenter on an ExecuNet Webinar called: Motivation vs. Malaise: Driving Engagement in a Troubled Economy

About the Recruiting Roundtable

The Recruiting Roundtable provides research, training, and tools to help recruiting executives and their teams make decisions that achieve the highest return on their investments. Roundtable services address key recruiting challenges in areas such as recruiting strategy, sourcing, candidate assessment, diversity management, employment branding, onboarding, outsourcing, metrics, workforce planning, among others. Additional information on the Recruiting Roundtable can be found here.

About the Corporate Executive Board

The Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD) provides analysis and authoritative guidance to the world's most successful organizations. With a member network of over 80% of the Fortune 500, the Corporate Executive Board delivers indispensable resources for timely decision-making on all issues related to strategy, operations and general management. For more information you can click here.

I have purposely left the information on both the Recruiting Roundtable as well as CEB here in case some readers might be becoming aware of one or both for the first time. If you operate in or care about hiring and/or retention space either from the corporate side or the staffing industry side these are sources for thought leadership that merit your continued attention.

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