We’ve all been there: hired someone you thought was perfect, who made all the right noises at interview, and who even passed the various tests you set them. And then even before they’ve made it through their first week, you realise you’ve made a huge mistake. They don’t get on easily with their new colleagues their work ethos isn’t quite compatible with your own they don’t fit the culture. Whether it’s due to pressures of time or circumstance, you’ve hired the wrong person.
Speak to any recruitment expert, and they’ll tell you that ‘fit’ is the hardest concept to define, and the toughest thing to get right. But getting it wrong can be so costly to the business. The question is: how much time are you and your line managers prepared to invest in finding people who fit?
If you work in a sector with a high turnover of staff, then sometimes you may just have to plump for the next available bum on seat. But if your organisation is inundated with hundreds of applications per vacancy – as is the case for internet search engine giant Google – then recruitment becomes a much more absorbing process.
Google UK’s HR director Liane Hornsey raised a few eyebrows during her presentation at the HR Directors Business Summit in Wales last week when she said that she went through 14 interviews to secure her job, and that managers typically spend 30% of their time recruiting. Time-consuming that may be, but Hornsey said the payoff came in the organisation’s retention rates: staff turnover stands at just 3%.
Google’s approach is in stark contrast to the news stories we have run in recent weeks about employers wishing they had the right to sack people they didn’t like without fear of ending up in tribunal.
I’m not suggesting that all senior managers should ‘do a Google’ when it comes to recruiting. But if we spent more time getting our recruitment right, we might never need to fire a bad hire again.
By Karen Dempsey, editor