How to ensure your leaders are in the 60% of successful hires. 

Implementing fair selection processes in order to ensure you make the right hire.

Hiring leaders from external sources is a tricky business as 40% fail in their first 18 months in the role.  A massive 85% of HR Leaders admit to making poor hires at this level which leads to substantial costs both financially and in terms of lost human aspirations.  

Typically, hiring managers and HR leaders feel a need to fill the vacancy based on their gut feel or worse, choosing friends and acquaintances.  Others will hire a close fit candidate even though they do not tick all the boxes.  In some cases, the organisation is not even sure what type of skills and experiences are needed for the job with inadequate role profiles and job specifications being commonplace.

In our experience the problem is compounded by poor practice at selection stage with simple biographical interviews being very unreliable, it is a wonder why they are relied on so much by many companies.

Fair Selection Processes

The selection process need not be so unscientific and non-objective if a few simple and cost-effective steps are introduced into the selection process.

In our collective experience of over 30 years advising clients on selection decisions we observe that:

  1. Having a defined and well researched job profile for every role is critical.
  2. For leadership roles, having a leadership framework in place is important so that the hiring managers and candidates can understand what it takes for them to be successful from a leadership perspective.


  3. Blind CV sifting (where the name of the candidate is removed) is becoming more popular as this reduces unconscious bias in the selection process.  Moreover, this is an effective way of helping build a diverse workforce as it helps to reduce unconscious bias.
  4. Introduce some form of objective assessment such as personality profiling and carefully selected ability tests.  These assessments when administered by an expert can be bespoke for the role being hired and often includes reports written following feedback around the role, context of the hire, and the long-term potential of the candidate to grow and gain promotion.  We recommend not using off-the-shelf reports and instead investing in bespoke reporting which adds real value to the hiring process.
  5. Always have at least two candidates in the process so a comparison can be made.  

Making The Right Hire

When making hires look at all the evidence and benchmark data that a comprehensive process can offer and ignore, the temptation to rely on gut feel alone.

The advantages are:

  1. Better hires.
  2. Reduced costs in terms of staff turnover and having to rehire.
  3. Reduced risk of a poor hire.
  4. Better leaders are hired as psychometric data is reliable in these areas.
  5. Better candidates long term who can grow and develop.

About The Author

Matthew Davis leads MDC Advisory, a full-service business psychology and Leadership consulting practice.  

He has over 30 years’ experience of advising clients on all aspects of effective selection having advised clients globally.

He can be contacted at [email protected] or on 07974 430021

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