Should Hiring Be Considered A Zero-Tolerance Industry?

Here’s the question of the day – what if we treated hiring like a zero-tolerance industry?

A zero-tolerance industry is an industry where mistakes are not tolerated. Nuclear engineers work in a zero-tolerance industry. Air traffic controllers work in a zero-tolerance industry. Police officers work in a zero-tolerance industry.

Those jobs are zero-tolerance industries because they are literally matters of life and death. Hiring isn’t. (Unless, of course, you are hiring a nuclear engineer. Or an air traffic controller. Or a police officer.) But, truth of the matter is that the people you hire are going to decide the life or death of your company.

Some statistics. A good hire can be worth three to four times their salary. A great hire is priceless. Meanwhile, a bad hire can cost 30 percent of their salary, and they bring everyone else down around with them. A disastrous hire is, well, disastrous.

Bottom line, beyond all that: the people you hire will define your company.

Firing people is not easy and it is no longer a short process. Firing people can be expensive. It isn’t fun for the employee, the hiring manager and for the fellow employees. Firing people is a terrible outcome for all.

So it makes sense to be systematic with hiring. It makes sense to constantly challenge yourself to find new ways to improve your hiring process. It makes sense to use data – raw, outcome-based data – to make your hiring process as strong as it possibly can be.

It makes sense to put the same kind of energy into hiring the right people that a nuclear engineer puts into ensuring that he or she doesn’t blow up half of whatever state he or she lives in. Because if you don’t consistently hire the right people, no one will get hurt. Except your company.

So take hiring seriously. Be open to new ideas. Make your hires count.

Your company is depending on it.

Views: 42

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 21, 2014 at 6:32pm

Thanks, Paul. I've long suggested that hiring be treated as a deliverable for hiring managers: do it on-time, within-budget, high-quality, no excuses.


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