“No Hire” Decision

In seeking to fill a critical role in your organization, or any role for that matter, often the best decision you can make following an interview with a potential candidate is NO HIRE.

On the surface this assertion seems counter-intuitive at best and downright ridiculous at worst.  How could the decision not to hire for a key role, to leave an important position open rather than hire a prospective candidate, be a good decision for your company?  Here’s why:

When companies find themselves in a difficult labor market such as exists in East Africa, where qualified, experienced resources are in high demand and short supply, there is a strong tendency to “lower the bar” related to hiring decisions.  Hiring managers find themselves considering candidates that would normally be quickly eliminated from the recruitment process. As job roles, particularly leadership positions, remain open and unfilled, the greater the incentive for hiring managers to transition from seeking the best candidates to just finding a candidate that meets the minimum job requirements. What is often not understood is that mistakes in hiring cost more when there are few good candidates. Why is this so?

  1. When you hire a substandard candidate, you are cutting short the recruitment process and effectively forgoing qualified candidates. It also means that your competitors will be the ones to secure the better candidates. While top candidates are difficult to find and take more time and energy, they are out there, and it is well worth the effort for the long term contribution they will bring.
  2. When you hire poor candidates, the costs of hiring increase. Typically, a poor hire results in a termination or an early resignation, requiring your company to re-recruit for the same position again, incurring duplicative recruitment and potentially severance costs, not to mention lost training investment and other intangibles.
  3. It is a well-known truism that poor performing employees tend to take 80% of a manager’s focus, which would be better spent with the best employees.  This loss of productivity therefore includes not just the poor employee but the hiring manager as well.
  4. Top performers like to work with other top performers.  If you lower your hiring standards and accept to bring in mediocre employees, the pressure on and experience of your top employees will also suffer and they may begin to consider other employment options.  If they are truly skilled they will be highly sought after by recruiters and competitors.

In reality, lower hiring standards are somewhat inevitable in a labor market where skilled, well-educated, experienced candidates are in short supply. However, short supply does not equate to non-existent.  It is worth the extra effort to apply the right resources to recruitment, to ensuring you offer competitive compensation, and carefully aligning a candidate’s fit for the position. Never take information provided in a C.V. at face value. Be sure you verify the education and employment data that has been provided and complete reference checks that extend over the candidate’s last two or three jobs. If you have reservations, don’t move forward.  Continue the recruiting process and hold out for the right candidate.

The best companies always point to their people as their greatest asset, so secure your own organization’s future success by maintaining hiring standards and processes that will ensure true talent.

– Greg