5 checkpoints For Avoiding Mis-hires

November 15, 2013

According to calculations by an American consulting company*, hiring someone at an annual salary of US $50,000, then dismissing that person because of having mis-hired can result in wasted costs as high as $245,000.


Every company wants top people. Therefore, in this article, I will interview senior consultants who have helped many companies over many years, and ask them about common pitfalls in corporate hiring. How many of these apply to your company?


(Check point 1:  Job description details)

Have you written an easy-to-understand job description?

Does every job description look the same? The job description is an important tool for giving the agent a clear picture of the person required. Depending on how it is written, the quality of the candidates recommended by the agent can increase significantly.


At one company, in order to make the job description more clear, they assign percentages to each of a number of tasks, making it easy to understand their importance.  In addition, there are companies that send the job description together with materials attached that outline an explicit career path for the person after joining the company.


There is also a company who, when they have multiple openings in regions such as Chiba or Sendai, will write up a description of the person that the hiring manager of each area is looking for, and send it to me. Because it is clear what type of person they are seeking, this company has real success in their hiring.



(Check point 2: Resume screening)

Are you looking too hard for someone who is an, “A Player” on paper?

First, it is important to be aware of where your company is positioned within the industry. If your company is a world leader with universal name value, then there is no problem, but if not, it is going to be difficult to attract the same people as a top company.


If there is one common characteristic of companies whose recruiting efforts fail, it is that they tend to seek people who are not in line with the company’s position within their industry. We see companies that simply set strict parameters on education and career, without considering their own company’s position and business outlook.


I want to make it clear that any company can hire A Players. However, companies that hurt their chances by looking only at people who are A Players on paper tend to fail at hiring. You can’t judge which people can contribute to your business based only on education and career history.


If competition within the industry is intense and you’re having trouble getting the right people, you could consider going ahead and focusing on hiring candidates with a history of frequent job changes, or those who are older. These types tend to be avoided when screening candidates by documentation, but many of these people give a different impression when you interview them. There is less competition, and it is possible to discover people who will stay with the company long-term.


(Check point 3: Before the interviews)

Is there consistency in the type of person the interviewers are looking for?

Normally, at least two or three interviews are done. This means there will be at least two or three different people serving as interviewers. However, very often each interviewer is looking for a different type of person. You can’t expect the hiring process to succeed under these conditions.


Before interviewing, you should prepare by holding meetings with the concerned parties to discuss the type of person you are looking for.


(Check point 4: Interviews)

Are you letting the interview pass because of lively conversation?

The ability to make interesting conversation is a sign of strong communication skills, and is very important in jobs such as sales. However, even among competent people, many are unaccustomed to interviews, and their personal success stories may not sound so impressive.

Let’s try looking at this from a different perspective. Imagine candidates who can manage risk, and are someone who can tactfully handle delivery and requisition, and that person’s job is precisely to avoid getting into crisis situations. When they tells an interesting and amusing story about how they dramatically turned a failure into a success, it could be that they are just good at interviews. Or, it could be a near-failure resulting from their own neglect. It is important to get the candidate to talk in depth about his or her past successes.


(Check point 5: Between the interviews and making a decision)

Is there an awareness of selection speed?

Abenomics may have something to do with it, but the Japanese job market is on the upturn. At our company for example, compared with 2009 after the Lehman shock, the number of placement requests per consultant has risen by 78%. In other words, good people are currently in high demand.


Quick selection speed is an important factor that can achieve an advantage over other companies. That is another reason to provide the agent with sufficient information. If, after the agent’s interview, you’re at the point where you’d normally be after the primary interview, then selection time can be shortened by 3-4 days. At some companies where this is being done, they are hiring successfully even though their salary levels are on average ¥500,000 below the competition. Of course the agent in charge has to know the industry and understand the company doing the hiring.


A final word

There are many recruiting agencies around. If you feel that en world‘s services have something special to offer, or if there are positions you are having trouble filling, by all means get in touch with us.


Atsuo Kimura

Team Manager, Life Science Division
Atsuo has been a consultant for 9 years, and he joined en world Japan in 2008. Leveraging his science background, he did recruiting in the life sciences field, and now as a manager he is building that same field into one of en world’s core businesses. Besides leading the team, he does consulting himself, focusing on senior positions. He has a high success rate in headhunting. For a company that had once tried headhunting unsuccessfully, he has taken their unfilled job list and achieved an average hiring success rate of 15%. In 2011 he received the top sales award, and in 2012 he placed second in recruitment division business results.