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Why New Hires Fail – what to look for when hiring

August 27, 2010

If you’ve been in a hiring process lately, dollars to donuts you started
by looking at the person’s resume, and oriented your interview process
around that document in one form or another.  Would it surprise you to
know that you are looking in the wrong place for most of what you need?

Resume’s are important; they serve as an initial, albeit rough screening
device… but for what?  Technical skills and experience of course.
But what if technical skills are only marginally related to success on the
job and not the area you should focus on in initial screening?  Would
it surprise you to know that only 11% of new hire failures is due to
technical skill deficits?  I was surprised.

There’s an excellent one page read on the topic, derived from a study by
LeadershipIQ.  Here’s the results after interviewing over 5,200 managers
over a three year period.

“The study found that:
26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept  feedback,
23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions,
17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel,
15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only
11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.”

Technical skills and ability are critical to succeeding on a job, but
skills at managing one’s emotions and interpersonal relationships,
or the lack thereof, is underscored in this study as what will lose you a job.

If you knew that 90% of the reasons people you were interviewing,
would be due to emotional and interpersonal IQ, it would only make
sense that it would get a high priority in both pre-job interviews and
in annual reviews.   Check your annual review form and see if it is there.

Finally, there was also a hidden gem in this report, underscoring the
old 80-20 rule.  The report finds that 46% of new hires fail in the first
18 months, “while only 19% will achieve unequivocal success.”  That
adds up to 19% that succeed, and 81% either failing or adding
marginal value.

Bottom Line:
Pay attention first to prospective and current employee’s coachability,
emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, they represent
the factors most highly related to delivering value on the job.  Technical
skills are important, much easier to evaluate and unfortunately not
nearly as good a predictor for success at your work place and mine.

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