How Recruiting Fails: Leadership Learning

Susan S Freeman Blog


This week’s Step Up Leader Tips focuses on a key leadership competency:  recruiting talent.

During my past life as a vice president of a retained executive search firm, I learned how much opportunity there is to educate companies for a more successful recruiting experience.  Large organizations have HR departments and often employ internal recruiters or external headhunters.

But what about the many companies who do not?  What can they do to improve?

Because I work with many Founders and CEO’s of entrepreneurial companies that are in the second category, I see familiar patterns from my recruiting days.  One of my current clients has faced two poor hires within a year in a key management position, causing financial and other distress throughout the organization.  Observing the root cause of this (lack of knowledge on how to effectively recruit), has prompted me to put this issue front and center for training and coaching the leadership team.

According to Leading Blog,  Mark Murphy, author of “ Hiring for Attitude,” lists the top five reasons why new hires failed:

  1. Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers, and others.
  2. Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and accurately assess others’ emotions.
  3. Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve one’s full potential and excel on the job.
  4. Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment.
  5. Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job.

Naturally, we should be concerned whether or not a candidate can do the job, but it should not be the main focus.

recruiting“Because even the best skills don’t really matter if an employee isn’t open to improving or consistently alienates coworkers, lacks drive, or simply lacks the right personality to succeed in that culture.”

What attitudes work in one culture may not work in another. Attitudes are culture specific. So you first need to discover your organization’s unique attitudes. Think about the “attitudes that separate your high performers from your middle performers and your low performers from everybody else. You’re not trying to create a laundry list of attitudes but just the—three to seven—“important critical predictors of employee success or failure for your organization.”

I agree with Murphy’s approach.  Most organizations give little attention to identifying the winning attitudes for success –wouldn’t it be worthwhile to begin?

Next week, the 7 Principles for Successful Recruiting.

I invite you to post your comments here.  In the meantime, take my free assessment to learn your Leadership Effectiveness Quotient.

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