Career Advice, Interviews

Job Recruiting Is Kaput

The process used to put people in jobs is really, really broken. Within the recruiting and HR professions, scant attention is being paid to a quality control problem of gargantuan proportion. With 50 million job changes made each year (even when the economy is as wretched as it is), a huge component of the economy is just not working properly.

John Sullivan, a recruiting guru, laid out an enormous number of statistics around hiring failures. Here are some of the high points:

  • “Within a year, hiring managers regret 50% of the hiring decisions they make.” – Recruiting Roundtable
  • “46% overall hiring failure rate and a modest 19% great hire success rate.” – LeadershipIQ
  • “Only 10% of attempts to hire a top performer are successful.”  – Recruiting Roundtable
  • “Nearly two-thirds of hiring managers come to regret their interview-based hiring decisions.”  – DDI
  • “Of all the ‘perfect resumes’ sent out by mystery shopper candidates, only 12% were actually scheduled for interviews.” – Hodes™ Healthcare
  • “Nearly half of new executive hires quit or are fired within the first 18 months at a new employer.” – Corporate Leadership Council

So hiring is a crap shoot.

From the perspective of the people writing the pay checks, the odds are no better than flipping a coin that the next hire will feel right in retrospect. In the 2009 edition of an annual job satisfaction survey conducted for The Conference Board, only 45 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with their jobs, which is a marked drop from the more than 61 percent who said they were satisfied in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted.

It looks like both sides agree. The hiring process is kaput. You might notice that if both sides see a 50% failure rate, the odds are 1 in 4 that you and your boss will be satisfied with your next job.

Hiring ought to be seen as a process that just begins at the point where employment begins. Both employee and manager are faced with a period of getting acquainted and ought to have guidelines and support for making the relationship and the work, well, work. Unfortunately, most recruiting stops just as the relationship is getting started.

There are a number of disciplines that might have an effect on these statistics after the hiring decision is made.  On boarding, which is the process of attempting to ensure the success of a new hire, is increasingly well understood. Retention programs are becoming the object of serious quantitative analysis. These approaches will help but can’t undo the damage done by getting the wrong person into the job.

It is worth considering the fact that hiring failures make for recruiter job security. Under most circumstances, there is little incentive for a recruiter to care for or try to influence the success of a new hire. Just the opposite is true. Recruiters depend on high attrition rates as a part of their role in the company. If recruiters were constantly generating great hires, you’d need far fewer of them.