Make Bad Hires!
Conventional wisdom, oft repeated on the intarwebs, cautions us to take great care when hiring people. Some folks go to the trouble of quantifying the costs of just one bad hire. But what about the costs of such caution? Here’s a few (sincere) arguments in favour of making bad hires:
- However much of a misfit someone may seem at the outset, most people have the ability to learn, grow and develop. Recognising this can send a warm, reassuring and respectful message to everyone in the organisation – including the new hire.
- Sticking with a new hire – even when recognising that the hire was “questionable” – can earn much loyalty and commitment from the person in question.
- Finding bad hires is a lot quicker and a lot simpler than finding good hires.
- Who’s to say that someone that looks like a bad hire will in fact turn out to be such? Kahneman cautions against the cognitive biases that makes us think we can predict people’s performance in advance. (This also reminds me of the Zen story “Farmer’s Luck”).
- If we accept making bad hires as policy, our organisation can gear up for it and streamline the procedures for taking people on and letting people go. Much like the agile policy of “deliver early, deliver often, get feedback.” (See also: Zappos). The increased frequency can help us learn faster.
- The stigma associated with making ‘bad hires’ decreases or disappears, reducing the delays inherent in people (well, managers, really) avoiding taking “risky” decisions.
- People other than managers can be “entrusted” with making hiring decisions.
- If you subscribe to the idea of “Deming’s 95%” – that 95% or the performance of any employee is down to the system (the way the work works), not to their own innate skills, experience or talent, then any gap between “good” and “bad” hires will be minimal (5% of overall performance) in any case.
- Seemingly “bad hires” will bring diverse perspectives into the organisation, perhaps much more so than “good hires” might.
Note: I would advise retaining one “good hiring” filter: the “No assholes” rule (including filtering-out of folks with sociopathic and/or psychopathic tendencies).
Can you think of any more good reasons for making bad hires?
Thinking, Fast and Slow ~ Daniel Kahneman
7 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes Is The Biggest Mistake ~ Blog post from PurposeFairy
Everyone sucks at Interviewing ~ Blog Post from Jason Freedman
“Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs” ~ Online article by Dr. Peter Cappelli
“Bad Hires Have Cost Zappos Over $100 Million” ~ Tony Hsieh
“What’s Wrong with Job Interviews, and How to Fix Them” ~ Adam Grant