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Staffing directors contribute to disillusionment of new hires

March 7, 2013

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Joe DeSantis  

A newly-published survey says that about half of new hires experience “buyer’s remorse” on the job. The same survey says that staffing directors know their selection systems produce wrong hires, and they even believe they know why they produce wrong hires. But they insist their selection systems are strong. They do so even as the way they evaluate those systems exposes a glaring disconnect between how they should be selecting new hires and how they actually are selecting them.

The survey is Global Selection Forecast 2012 by the Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Development Dimensions International. The data is about a year old. It is broad based, coming from more than 250 staffing directors and 2,000 new hires in 33 different industries in 28 countries. Among the more revealing findings:

  • Only 51% of new hires are confident that their decision to accept the job was the right one. The remainder attribute much of their disillusionment to having been given an unrealistically rosy picture of the job and the employer.
  • When new hires prove to be bad hires, staffing directors say the number one reason is overreliance on the judgment of hiring managers in making selection decisions (31%). Next is candidates overpromising their capabilities (21%), followed by hiring managers not following the selection process (16%).
  • Two out of three staffing directors feel their hiring managers do not know how to conduct high quality interviews; the same proportion are not satisfied with the training those hiring managers get from the company on how to interview candidates.
  • More than a third of staffing directors feel their interviewing guides are not built around the actual  competencies for the jobs they are setting out to fill.
  • Nevertheless, 72% of staffing directors rate their selection systems as effective or very effective. In similar surveys in 2005 and 2007 the figures were 63% and 66% respectively. These figures suggest that since the Great Recession staffing directors are paying ever more attention to the quality of their selection systems.
  • Despite the flaws in the system attributable to hiring managers, the three criteria staffing directors most frequently use to evaluate their selections systems are Process Efficiency (i.e., time-to-fill, number of applicants) (79%), Employee Retention (76%), and Hiring Manager Satisfaction (68%).
  • The criteria least used to evaluate selection systems are Promotability of Hires (28%) and Business Impact (36%).

In summary, it may be said that a worrying number of new hires question whether they made good decisions when they accepted their job offers; mostly it is because they feel disillusioned about what they were told about the job and what the reality has turned out to be. To some extent they are responsible for their own disillusionment because they oversold their abilities during the screening process; however the poor judgment of hiring managers and their failure to follow selection protocols are major contributors to the problem.

Staffing directors point to a problem with overselling the candidate on the job and the employer. But they also point to overreliance on the hiring manager whose judgment is frankly not reliable, in part for lack of proper training on how to assess the candidate accurately in the interviewing process.

But in assessing their systems, staffing directors are clearly emphasizing traditional aspects of the selection process that contribute to the disillusionment felt by new hires. These aspects (Process efficiency, Employee Retention, Hiring Manager Satisfaction) are designed to please the hiring manager in the short term, not to create long-term value for the organization.

If the findings of this survey are accurate, they suggest that staffing directors need to redesign their systems so that they 1) do a better of job of identifying the actual skills and behaviors needed to do a given job; 2) make sure that the “selling” aspect of the selection process includes an effective dose of realistic expectations; and 3) resist the pressure to fill the job quickly for the sake of making the hiring manager happy.

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