Errare humanum est. Hiring Mistakes

Great companies start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.


Jim Collins, author „Good to Great”


Lekcja przygotowana przez Alicję Sekret z firmy Nine Dots


Everybody makes mistakes. Mistakes tend to be expensive – some more than others. I’m referring in particular to hiring mistakes, which can get extremely costly: The cost of a mis-hire at any level is 27 times salary. says Brad Smart, author of Topgrading.

If you were to answer a simple question – how many newly hired employees succeed in their positions – what would your reply be? About 50%? Unfortunately that’s wishful thinking. The real answer is 19%. And the first number mentioned (46% to be precise) actually refers to the failures, according to a 3-year-long study conducted by Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research company, in 2009. During that time Leadership IQ interviewed 5,200 hiring managers from 312 public and private organisations who hired over 20,000 new employees and discovered this shocking fact. One might think that this is due to the new hires’ lack of technical skills, they would be wrong, though. Interviewers actually do make sure that the new employees are technically competent, especially that this skill is rather easy to evaluate. What’s the problem then?


Exercise 1: Watch the film and complete the sentences below (and then continue reading the text )



Dennis Kneale: Business is a relationship. You (1) ___ ______ with the people you like.

Gary Hoover: You can’t (2) ________ people based on their (3) ________. You have to (4) ________ people by looking in their hearts and looking in their eyes and say: ‘Do they believe in what you’re trying to (5) ________?

Jeff&Rich Sloan:
It’s a little bit different that the location, location, location. (…)
It’s all about (6) ________, ________, ________ in entrepreneurship, that’s for sure. And small businesses, think about it, you don’t have that many people (7) ________ in a small business.

What the experts in the film emphasise, some recruiters seem to forget. According to the above mentioned study most hiring mistakes are attributed to lack of or poor interpersonal skills, which means that employees:

–  are unable to accept feedback (26%) and be coached,
–  lack emotional intelligence and are unable to manage their emotions (23%),
–  lack motivation (15%) or
–  have inadequate personality for the position.

What might be surprising is that the majority of interviewers (82%) had a hunch that their new hire might not possess the greatest interpersonal skills. Why did they make the mistake anyway? Probably due to time-pressure or lack of confidence or training which would help them read and assess the candidates.

Hiring failures can be prevented, says Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. If managers focus more of their interviewing energy on candidates’ coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, they will see vast improvements in their hiring success.

to tend to – mieć skłonność do costly = expensive
hire (N) – pracownik mis-hire (N) – niewłaściwa osoba na niewłaściwym stanowisku

wishful thinking – pobożne życzenia

failure – porażka
to conduct – przeprowadzać due to – z powodu
lack of – brak to evaluate – oceniać
entrepreneurship – przedsiębiorczość to emphasise – podkreślać, akcentować
to seem to – wydawać się to attribute – przypisywać
inadequate – nieodpowiedni, nieadekwatny to have a hunch – mieć przeczucie
to prevent – zapobiegać vast – szeroki, znaczny

Exercise 2: Write the correct word in the space before its definition.


wishful thinking
1.the act or result of not succeeding organize and lead
3.below standard
4.the interpretation of facts, actions,
words, and the like in accordance with the
meanings a person would like them to have
rather than in terms of what they really are


Exercise 3: Complete the sentences with the correct form of the words given:

attribute, evaluate, hire, hunch

1.I had a __________ employing him would be the right decision.

2.A lot of people are __________ the warmer winters to global warming.

3.They need time to __________ the situation before making their decision.

4.It is extremely important to take into consideration all the factors before taking on new __________.

Exercise 1: (1) do business; (2) hire; (3) resumes; (4) hire; (5) accomplish; (6) people, people, people; (7) involved;
Exercise 2: 1. failure; 2. conduct; 3. inadequate; 4. wishful thinking;
Exercise 3: 1. hunch; 2. attributing; 3. evaluate; 4. hires;


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