'Mismatched skill set' leading cause of bad hires: Survey

Unclear performance expectations, failure to fit into corporate culture and personality conflicts also to blame
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/06/2016

Aside from poor performance, failed hires are a result of a mismatched skill set, according to a survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

Nearly half of CFOs interviewed (47 per cent) responded this way, up 18 percentage points from a similar survey conducted five years ago.

Another 29 per cent of the 270 CFOs surveyed think unclear performance expectations is the top reason new employees don't work out. 

“Aside from poor performance, which one of the following factors is most likely to lead to a failed hire?”

Number of employees

Total

20-49

50-99

100-
249

250-

499

500-

999

1,000+

Mismatched skill set

47%

50%

48%

34%

24%

41%

46%

Unclear performance expectations

29%

30%

22%

36%

51%

35%

7%

Failure to fit into corporate culture

13%

14%

4%

18%

12%

22%

25%

Personality conflicts

10%

7%

19%

10%

13%

3%

23%

"Often, when companies hire the wrong person for the job it's a result of failing to clearly define what it will take for a candidate to succeed in the position," said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. "Set potential new employees up for success by going beyond a generic job description; outline the necessary skills and provide a roadmap for how new hires can excel in the role initially and in the future."

Hiring for new or existing positions creates an opportunity to demonstrate what makes a company a great place to work, he said.

"Create an engaging job posting that highlights corporate values, employee benefits, and career growth opportunities to attract the professionals with the skills that match your business needs."

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offered four tips to avoid making a bad hire:

Identify the must-haves: Make a list of essential skills and those that can be learned through training. While technical expertise can help people land the job, it's the soft skills that ensure a person is a fit for the company and can take on greater responsibilities.

Don't shortcut the reference check: Talk to candidates' former managers to get a better sense of whether employees might do well at your firm. Ask about individuals' work styles, strengths and areas for improvement.

Get outside help: By tapping the extensive networks of a specialized staffing firm, you gain access to a larger talent pool. A recruiter can help evaluate each job seeker based on the required skills and performance expectations and accelerate the hiring process.

Act immediately. If you find a great applicant, move quickly and offer attractive compensation. Separate Robert Half research found promising candidates lose interest when companies delay making a decision. Don't prolong the process.

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