Convention Reflections: Bad Hires Can Break Your Business

HRSource pointed out the pitfalls, and solutions, at a Dallas Town Hall

By Felicia Medrano, AVBM, and Alan Wolf, YSN

Although we all face a tight labor market in which good jobs go begging, don’t be too quick to pull the trigger on the first candidate who walks through your door.

That was a key takeaway from a Convention week Town Hall hosted by HRSource managing lead Daniel Abramson. At the Monday morning event, Abramson told BrandSource members that customers want a great in-store experience and to buy from people they like. What’s more, great service builds customer loyalty and generates referral business at no extra cost.

Conversely, the biggest dealbreakers for consumers are poor service, which causes half of all customers to leave, and lack of personal attention, which accounts for another 20% of attrition. (In contrast, only 15% of customers walk due to product quality or pricing.)

Compounding the problem is the advent of social media, where a bad review on Google or Yelp can result in lost business opportunities.

But the impact of a bad hire can be felt within your company as well, where the ramifications could include lower staff morale and motivation and extra costs to re-train a replacement.

To avoid the pitfalls of a poor hire, Abramson offered a host of recommendations, number one being to “Never hire after the first interview.” Other hiring blunders include lowering your standards while under pressure to fill a vacancy; failure to conduct a drug test, personality survey and background check (including social media posts); and hiring on skills alone rather than personality. As Abramson explained, customers want to be “wowed,” and “wowing” in a service-based business is only 20% technique but 80% attitude, which is something that can’t be taught.

See: AVB’s HR Playbook

Qualities to look for in an “A-player” candidate include resiliency, high energy, the ability to multi-task and handle intense work, and the more ambiguous emanation of “a good vibe.” As for the interview process itself, Abramson suggests a three-step procedure, beginning with an initial 10-minute telephone interview. If all goes well, follow that up with a 45-minute face-to-face meeting, to be followed by a second 30-minute in-person sit-down, this time with a manager or top company performer to get a second opinion.

Also during the interview process, be sure to ask the “come clean” question, which is, “Is there anything you’d like to share with me now, before we begin our due diligence and outside reference checks?”

See also: The HRSource Interview Scorecard

So congratulations, you’ve hired a rock star! But that’s only half the battle; now you must work at keeping him or her on board. Unfortunately, the days of tying one’s career to a single company have gone the way of the gold retirement watch, and today’s grads will change jobs five time before they turn 30, Abramson said. In order to retain your new hire, try to address the five main reasons employees leave, or CLAMS: challenge, location, advancement, money and security.

Abramson’s advice: Review your pay structure, consider annual retention bonuses, conduct “stay” interviews and check employee comments on company review site Glassdoor, and institute a referral program that rewards employees for recommending candidates who stay beyond a set period. Happy hiring!

Felicia Medrano is manager of business operations at AVB Marketing, the advertising, e-commerce and digital marketing arm of YSN publisher AVB Inc. Her co-author Alan Wolf is a YSN reporter and correspondent.

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