The "Like Factor" PITFALL of a Bad Hire


Bad RecruitingSeveral years ago, I served on the board of a local nonprofit. When our Director of Development left to go to a larger organization, “Mary,” the Founder and Executive Director, immediately embarked on a search for her replacement.  

I sent an email to Mary suggesting two of us on the board had relevant experience, I as an executive recruiter, the other a senior member of the development team at a major health care institution. We could add value to the search process. The Chair of our board called the next day to admonish me, insisting that we should not interfere and let Mary do her job.

Mary went on to interview candidates on her own and was excited to present the credentials of the “perfect candidate,” “Evelyn,” to the board. Carefully reviewing her resume, I was not convinced Evelyn was the best candidate for the job. When I questioned her qualifications, Mary responded, “I have known her personally for some time. She is from the community where we are housed, worked for and is still connected to a prominent local politician…. and I really like her!”   

Evelyn was terminated for cause less than six months after she was hired.

Autopsy of a bad hire

What made this a bad hire?  

No hiring criteria

Even though there was a job description, Mary failed to clearly define and prioritize the expectations and critical “must haves” before she began the search.  She should have developed a scorecard for the ideal candidate that included the desired skills, key performance indicators and expected outcomes, and examples of accomplishments that would predict success on the job.  If she had done so, she might have avoided the bad hire.

No selection and hiring process

Mary did not establish an organized hiring process. Nor did she use  expert assistance available for free from two of her board members.  Instead, she chose to go it alone.   

Risk aversion

Managers hate to make bad decisions.  The hiring process can become protracted as the result of the manager’s indecisiveness. Great candidates are lost to more decisive managers in competitor organizations.  In Mary’s case, she hired her friend Evelyn rather than step out of her comfort zone.

Hiring talent is not Mary’s full time job

Mary is the Executive Director, not the Director of Talent Acquisition.  Consequently she relied on the more common, less effective tools for identifying candidates.  Her lack of hiring experience was exacerbated by her daily job responsibilities and in-the-moment emergencies that made it impossible to give her full attention to finding great talent.

The “Like Factor” Pitfall

”I really like her.”  All the factors above resulted in a lack of hard data and Mary’s reliance on the dreaded “Like Factor” when she made the hiring decision.  If she had taken the time to develop specific hiring criteria, Mary would have had a tool to consistently evaluate her candidates.   An established hiring process that utilized other available resources and members of her management team could have drastically reduced the risk of making a bad hire. However, in the absence of these tools and resources, all Mary had to rely on was the “Like Factor” which is generally a one way ticket to disaster.

How to minimize the risk of making a bad hiring decision   

The most efficient and cost effective way to hire a mission critical member of your team is to employ an executive search firm like Dise & Company.

The Right Talent with the Right Fit

The members of the Dise & Company Search Team will find candidates who fit your organization’s style and culture and have the skills, experience and attributes to do the job.  How?  We help you develop a scorecard consisting of the expectations of the ideal candidate, which include the hard and soft skills and their fit with the style and culture of the organization.   The score card provides consistent comparative data for each candidate that will help you make the right hiring decision.

Not just a good hire but a great hire

When you have a mission critical role to fill, your day is consumed by other distractions.   Every day the job is open costs you money in lost opportunities.  You don’t have the luxury of dedicating your time exclusively to nothing but filling that empty slot.   Our full time job is finding great talent for you in the shortest possible time. 

Bad hires are disruptive and can negatively impact your career.  They affect the productivity of the organization, wasting time and energy.  Your boss may view bad hires as a lack of good decision making skills in other aspects of your work.  Dise & Company can help you make great hires that will positively impact the organization’s productivity in the short term and your career in the long run.

Click here if you would like to have a confidential conversation about how the Dise & Company Team can use our proven search methodology to help with your next mission critical search needs.

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Tagged With: Executive Search, Expert Knowledge

Greg Reynolds

Greg is an experienced human resources executive who assists clients in recruiting key talent, building organizational bench strength and optimizing workforce performance by enhancing leadership skills. He is skilled in creating outplacement services that meet the needs of both organizations and individuals affected by reductions in force. His clients have ranged from small businesses to Fortune 100 organizations in the public and private sectors. He has deep experience in service, industrial, non profit, and technology environments.