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FLEXO Magazine : March 2008
44 FLEXO MARCH 2008 www.flexography.org PLANTS & PROCESSES Experts estimate the cost of a bad hire at up to three times the person's annual pay. But beyond the financial hit, a bad hire can have a lasting negative impact on the culture of your team or even your whole organization, the same way one drop of coffee in a pitcher of water changes the flavor. This reminds me of a printer who called me a few years ago. His beloved plant manager had just given two weeks' notice be- cause of a move to another city. He needed to find a new manag- er---fast. As we discussed the requirements, I asked him how good he was at making successful hires. He said, "Pretty good. I've hired some great people." Then I asked him, "How many of your hires turned out to be very good or great?" He thought a second and said, "About 50 percent." That was the answer I expected. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 40 percent of Americans are in jobs they don't like. Private studies find the per- centage is actually 50 percent. This is significant because other studies show that when employees don't feel their jobs fit them, the quality and quantity of their output ranges from incompetence to mediocre. As one client told me, "She was a ball of fire in the inter- views, but we never saw any flames once she showed up for work." MYTHS AND REALITIES Sometimes people apply for work that doesn't fit them. This can happen when they don't understand what the job really requires, they focus on the income or prestige potential, or they feel they can force themselves to eventually love the work. This puts more burdens on the person responsible for making hiring decisions. If it's you, you have to be able to cut through the applicant's misper- ceptions and discover if there is a match with the job's responsi- bilities. This is where most employers go wrong. There are five common myths about hiring. These can lead em- ployers and job applicants astray. I. Myth: Hire someone who gives you a "good feeling" in the in- terview process. Reality: People perform in interviews. Like stage actors, some applicants are more talented than others. There are books and coaches that teach people how to act in interviews. Applicants who have gone on numerous interviews have had lots of "dress rehearsals" before interviewing with you, so evaluating them can be misleading. When interviewing salespeople in particular, expect applicants to be impressive. However, keep in mind that being impressive and being able to close sales are not the same skill sets. Another shortcoming of interviews is that very talented people can fall through the cracks because they interview poorly. This can happen because of nervousness, inexperience with interviewing, or making false assumptions about what they need to say to impress you. The bottom line on interviews is this: There is nothing objec- tive about the process because it's all about how the interviewer feels about the interviewee. II. Myth: A multiple interview process will weed out applicants who are not the right fit. Reality: Multiple interviews are political. There is an unavoidable level of corporate politics built into the process. It might sound like this: "Since she'll report to Herb, not me, if Herb likes her, then she's OK with me. I don't want to be the one responsible for tossing this applicant. Herb can deal with her if she doesn't work out." This can go the other way, too. If each person who interviews the applicant is rigorous, then the quest for perfection (which is sometimes another way of saying, "Don't blame me. I didn't hire her.") could cause the dismissal of applicants who might perform the job exceptionally well. The multiple interview process is as subjective as the single interview. Never Make a Bad Hire Again By Doug Smart