The fear of hiring

A chief challenge in hiring the appropriate person for a position is that those charged with interviewing and hiring decisions typically have common biases that can cloud their evaluation of candidates.

So asserts Daniel Abramson, president and founder of training and coaching firm StaffDynamics. He has been focused on workforce performance strategies for more than 25 years.

In his presentation, Secrets of Hiring and Retaining Top Talent, to the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) 2013 Fall Meeting and National Technician Skills Competition (TMCSuperTech), he noted that when the wrong people for the job are hired, a company’s business will be adversely impacted.

Business is 80 percent people and 20 percent technique, maintained Abramson. If the right people are not in the right jobs, quality and service will suffer and those are the main reasons why customers quit a business.

Compounding matters is the 8/16 Rule. That rule, he explained, says that if a company does a good job, its customers will tell eight people about their good experiences. If a company does a poor job, customers will tell 16 people about it.

Typically, companies “hire for skills but fire for personality,” he observed. Instead, based on the hypothesis that business is 80 percent people and 20 percent technique, companies “should hire on attitude – because soft skills are very important – and teach techniques.

The Same Mistakes

Although business managers talk about the importance of hiring and retaining top talent, they continue to make the same mistakes over again, said Abramson. This is especially true when companies are under pressure to hire because expectations are typically lowered in order to fill vacancies.

Yet, it is very costly and disruptive when a new hire has to be let go.

He cited research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that pegs the cost of a bad hire at approximately three times the person’s salary. This encompasses re-hiring and training of a replacement and the impact on productivity and workplace morale.

Despite these consequences, SHRM research shows that 72 percent of companies do not have a structured process for hiring and retention.

Beyond the Resume

Abramson said that when interviewing job candidates, questions need to be better formulated to get more insightful information about candidates and their work experience and knowledge. The most valuable interview questions coax additional information from the person that is not contained on the resume or application and reveal the candidate’s personality, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

The idea is to get job applicants to talk about themselves.

Moreover, he said the focus during the interview process needs to change from what the potential employee has done and can do to what he will do if hired.

Interview To-Dos

The first thing to do during a job interview is to sell the person on why they should come to work for your company, Abramson said. It’s important to give the candidate a feel for what the company is all about, something too many companies fail to do.

“Never hire after the first interview,” he emphasized. “You can’t know enough about the person and they can’t know enough about your company and the position.

“A first interview is usually a formal, awkward situation wherein job candidates aren’t themselves, and hiring with your gut feeling is always a risky practice.”

At the end of the first interview, if interested in the person, Abramson advised telling them to go home and think about things, and then asking: “On a scale of one to 10, how interested are you in this job?

“Close the interview with: ‘Call me tomorrow at an odd time,’ such as 10:13 a.m., to see if the person pays attention. During the call revisit things and do a temperature check. If all is good, bring the person in for a second interview.”

Abramson urged creating a scorecard for use during every interview process to rate each candidate on a company’s predetermined criteria because most people are not objective in how they judge others.

This is an approach used effectively by sports coaches to analyze a player’s performance for each position that then select the best player for the position.


Making the time and effort to hire and retain top talent pay dividends. Better people help make a company perform better and giving superior service helps make a company more money.

“Failure to hit the hiring bullseye is not the fault of the target,” concluded Abramson.