It’s Not Me, It’s You


At the end of a carefully constructed and well-planned recruitment process, the decision is made to hire the right person into a job, and the hope for a successful employment relationship begins.

So, what happens if there is a realization that the person selected for the job is not the right one and no amount of performance management is going to change the fact that a mistake was made in the decision-making process?

According to an article published by Harvard Business Review, a successful hiring decision is made only 19% of the time. Furthermore, the article goes on to state that after eighteen months, 46% of hiring decision are deemed to be ‘failures’.

Click here to read the article.

These are unfortunate indicators that fly in the face of sound recruitment and staffing strategies. No matter what the statistical rates may be, as noted in the article, there is no doubt that organizations must plan for the fact that not all hiring decisions will lead to successful, long-term outcomes.

As with most relationships, when an employee begins working for an organization there is a typical ‘honeymoon’ stage where an individual’s quirks or foibles may not be cause for immediate concern. This stage can wear off quickly once those individual characteristics begin to impede organizational progress and productivity. In a workplace setting, the wrong person in the wrong job must be identified and managed in a constructive way that prevents on-going harm to both the individual employee and the rest of the organization.

Letting someone go when there are clear indicators that the employment relationship is just not going to work may be painful. This is especially true when both the employee and the employer have invested time, money, and resources in good faith, hoping the relationship will work. When there are clear indicators that the employment relationship is not destined for success, it is imperative that an even more important decision is made—to call the whole thing off.


Discussion Questions:

  1. In your role as an HR practitioner, what advice would you give an employer if you were involved in making a bad hiring decision?
  2. Identify three performance indicators that organizations should use to measure a new employee’s success in their role within the first month of employment.
  3. Thinking about your own work experience, what would you do if you started a new position with an employer and realized that the job was not for you? What steps would you take to try to improve the situation before making the decision to quit?