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Why new hires fail PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Dumont   
ImageHiring and retaining the right people for your organization is always critical. One of my early bosses and lifelong mentors used to say it was a matter of life and death! In an economic turndown with reduced sales, there is just no room for a poor hire. The financial cost of hiring failures, coupled with missing out on identifying high performers make this area critical for managers and owners.

According to a new study by Leadership IQ, a global leadership and training authority, 46 per cent of newly-hired employees will fail with 18 months, while only 19 per cent will achieve unequivocal success. Interestingly, technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail; instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list, flaws which many of their managers admit were overlooked during the interview process.

The study found that:

  • 26 per cent of new hires fail because they can't accept feedback;
  • 23 per cent because they're unable to understand and manage emotions;
  • 17 per cent because they lack the necessary motivation to excel;
  • 15 per cent because they have the wrong temperament for the job; but,
  • Only 11 per cent because they lack the necessary technical skills.
These figures should not be surprising, especially when it's considered 82 per cent of managers reported, in hindsight, that their interview process with these employees elicited subtle clues that they would be headed for trouble....but indicated they were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time, or lacked confidence in their interviewing skills to heed the warning signs.

The typical interview process focuses on ensuring that new hires are technically competent.  But coach-ability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are much more predictive of a new hire's success or failure. Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn't open to improving, alienates their co-workers, lacks drive and has the wrong personality for the job?

Okay, lots of percentages and figures don't always add up to your own hiring experiences, but these indicators once again prove the necessity of viewing effective interviewing as a number one priority.

Many, many interviewers experience the ‘halo' effect during interviews (that is the person whose personality and joviality has you forgetting about asking the serious questions you need answers to).

Worst is an issue that has been proven over and over again and that is of not pre-planning and taking the necessary time for an effective interview. Many employers take the ‘ready-fire-aim' approach to hiring because it's intrusive on their day to day functions and responsibilities. Taking the time to make an effective hire will avoid disastrous results down the road.

Is the ‘right' hire for your company based solely on the fact they sold mattresses for your competitor or do they exhibit the temperament to fit into your culture along with an attitude to learn and grow? And, can you take the time to find out?

Brenda Dumont is the founder of, the first ever specialty job board designed specifically for retailers. Prior to that, she founded and operated Dumont & Associates Retail Recruitment, a retail-only search firm for ten years and served as corporate human resources manager and training manager for Woodward's Stores Limited.

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