Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hiring the Wrong Person: Is It a Speed Bump, A Pothole or a Land Mine?

For a speed bump you have to slow down, for a pot hole you may have to get your wheels realigned, but with a landmine you’re lucky if you survive. Many people believe that hiring the wrong employee is like a speed bump but the more I read, the more I believe that bad hires are more like pot holes or land mines.

I suppose a speed bump is where you hire someone, put them on probation and get rid of them after a week or so. They may have missed work, come in late, been rude to customers, but you caught it early and the rest of the staff or you picked up the slack and not too much damage was done.

A pothole would be where the morale of fellow workers was affected, some customers were lost, and it was difficult to get rid of them. Examples of this from previous blog entries are “Jack is Back or What Happened When I Hired and Embezzler”, (that one cost $14,000) or “People Can Seem So Darn Nice,” (where it took a year to get rid of a drama queen) or “A Tale of Two Employees,” (where one employee averted a serious problem and another lost customers for a movie rental store).

The land mine is best described by Lester Rosen in Kennedy Information Recruiting Trends in his article “Recruiting Russian Roulette.” http://www.esrcheck.com/ He writes, “It’s a sobering thought, but every time a recruiting professional makes a placement, there is the possibility that a new hire can put him out of business.”

I am reminded of the old Flip Wilson comedy routine that parodied an old radio show when he said, “Who knows what evil lurk in the minds of men? The devil do honey!”

Is it that bad? According to Lester Rosen it is! To quote Mr. Rosen, “Industry statistics suggest that up to 10% of applicants can have criminal records. Fraudulent misrepresentations as to education and employment occur in as much as 40% of the time according to some studies.”

Mr. Rosen points out staffing professionals are particularly vulnerable to “Negligent Hiring” law suits. He goes on to say, “A staffing professional would need to show whether credentials and education were verified, whether past employment was checked, and whether a criminal background check was done.”

I couldn’t agree more but, in fact, everyone who is involved in hiring is vulnerable. Even if the dangers were only a speed bump careful hiring is important. Now the Workplace Attitudes Test is only a part of the puzzle. It does not replace a good interview or a good background check. It does, however, focus on the identification of bad attitudes and it helps you identify some applicants that you may want to eliminate early. See http://www.workplaceattitudes.com/.

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