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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

How to Hire for the Long Haul

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

It’s no secret that companies worldwide are struggling to find top talent. According to a ManpowerGroup survey, 69% of US employers are struggling to fill jobs, which marks the highest figure recorded in a decade!

But there’s also another facet of the talent conversation often ignored as leaders get into the weeds of the hiring cycle: the quickness with which they often lose these new hires. In fact, it’s estimated that 46% of new hires will fail within the first 18 months of employment. This means that nearly HALF of all employees hired will be gone within a year and a half! However, the truly staggering part of this statistic comes in determining why: Of these failures, only 11% were due to a lack of skill. An astounding 89% of terminations were attributed to personality or attitude issues. In other words, a bad fit.

This disconnect makes sense: After all, it’s far more difficult and ambiguous to determine whether a potential hire truly aligns with your hiring criteria of being a “team player” than it is to determine whether or not they can – say – code a website or balance a spreadsheet. These intangibles make or break a new hire, but are incredibly and increasingly difficult to screen for in a tight (and often rushed) hiring window.

We think it’s time to change the script. If you’re focused on hiring for the long-term, here are a few ways to ensure the “fit” is “tailored” from the start:

  1. Ask story questions: Stories divulge more than a resume ever could. Ask potential hires for “times when” to illuminate examples of how their sense of values has colored their past actions and experiences.

  2. Be patient: With a war for talent and staffing issues abound, it can be easy to “check the box” on an empty position. However, the cost of turnover is infinitely higher than the cost of taking extra time to front-end a misfit in your organization. In fact, Gallup estimates the cost to replace and onboard a new employee to be one half to two times his or her annual salary.

  3. Go Offline: As our world has moved towards telecommuting, Zoom conferences, and bedroom offices, it’s easy to opt towards saving the money and trouble of an in-person interview in favor of yet another video call. However, nothing can quite replace the feel for someone that can come from a face-to-face conversation. This investment upfront can save you loss down the road!

  4. Build Up Training and Development: Skills can be taught more easily than culture can be forced. If your training and development is thriving, you will be clear to focus on hiring for other – more important – criteria.

  5. Be Creative: Go off the beaten path when it comes to hiring initiatives. Invite potential hires to an employee community outreach/volunteer event; Have an employee not affiliated with the department or role contribute to the interview process to solely focus on cultural fit; For traveling interviewees, have someone from your team pick them up from the airport to get some extra downtime before the formal process begins. The options are limitless if you’re creative with how you start hiring!

If you need help defining your culture or finding the people who will thrive in it, let us know at!

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