The Classic Talent Acquisition Dilemma…Getting It Right the First Time!

By Posted in - Talent Management on October 9th, 2013 0 Comments

The late great Steven Covey once penned in his watershed classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that you should “begin with the end in mind”. The carpenter’s practice of “measure twice, cut once” was a strong reminder to get it right the first time in order to avoid costly mistakes.

This analogy applies in many ways to what HR types term Talent Acquisition, or what the rest of the world calls recruitment. Today, organizations of all sizes in the U.S. spend millions and millions of dollars (an estimated 130 Billion annually worldwide according to Deloitte) trying to add talent who can help them successfully grow their business. With Recruitment Agencies, Recruitment Process Outsourcers, and Applicant Tracking Systems helping to source good candidates, why do so many still get it wrong in terms of fit?

That is the million dollar question!

Talent Acquisition for Finding a Rock Star Candidate

Several years ago a good friend of mine, who was leading the HR function at a marketing agency, was recruiting to find a head of new business development. This person would be charged with bringing in new business and growing the top line of the company. It was a critical role for the organization in terms of impact to the P&L, and after several lackluster years of little new organic growth they needed a star who, as they put it, “has a large rolodex”. So they began the standard talent acquisition recruitment search. They went about building a perfect job description. They identified critical competencies and appropriate experience levels and education required. They engaged a top national search firm who provided them with several “top” candidates for the role. My friend was feeling very good about the search and their prospects to land a star! This was going to be the crown jewel of “Talent Acquisition” for the company and pay dividends for years to come!

And they failed.

My friend was devastated several months later when the person they hired clearly was not working out. Not only were sales not improving, but their top sales people were out shopping their resumes to competitors. Clearly the new leader was not inspiring the new team nor driving the kind of improvement the agency was looking for when the leader was hired – quite the opposite actually.

By the time the decision was made to let this person go, the cost of this one bad hire was STAGGERING. A full year of salary, perquisites, and benefits paid out. A year of lost productivity. Zero impactful new sales made or significant leads generated. Some of their very best sales people leaving for competitors. Truly this acquisition was a major setback for the organization. And in a business which typically had a 9 month sales cycle, the impact would be felt for more than just the current fiscal year.

Acquiring the Talent That is the Right Fit

How could this happen? They did everything right, or so they believed. The job description had all of the correct and important information on it. They made sure to clearly articulate to the search firm what they were looking for. The presented candidates seemingly had the perfect pedigree on paper and were all very experienced in the industry. They all had the right level of education from prestigious universities. The references were good. They all looked like a good fit and seemingly, on paper, any of the final three candidates would surely succeed in this type of job. Unfortunately, as often happens, the fit was not good.

OMNIview has helped many companies dramatically improve their “fit” quotient over the years and our experience has shown that these types of mistakes in hiring usually come down to one of two factors:

1. Lack of good data upon which to base your decision

2. Good data being ignored

In the marketing agency’s case it was a little of both. They had some good data, including the candidate’s history of short stays at other firms. They had the reference checks. They also had a pre-employment assessment which raised some concerns around this person’s numerical reasoning skills and financial acumen. Unfortunately for the company, the concerns were pushed aside as the hiring manager (the CEO in this case) went with their gut and hired the person they believed had rock star qualities. The rest as they say is history.

They had made a classic mistake…style over substance! And in today’s tight margin world of business where competition for sales is fierce, these are mistakes a company simply cannot afford to make. Your HR department’s talent acquisition efforts need to be different.

The fitQuest Hiring Difference

So the REAL million dollar question becomes, how do you ensure your talent selection process is designed to move your “FIT” rate from a 50/50 flip of the coin, to as close to 100% accurate as possible? We believe that these 5 simple steps are critical in that journey:

A. Develop world class “FIT” profiles
B. Train your interviewers
C. Assess your finalists with best in class assessment tools
D. Analyze all of the data
E. Fully optimize your ATS through better interview management

At OMNIview we believe it’s time to treat the recruitment and selection of critical roles not as a process…but as a QUEST! We would love to show you the value of getting it right the first time!

Check us out on to learn how to create a fitQuest culture in your business.

John Reynolds

About John Reynolds

John Reynolds is the CEO of OMNIview. A veteran of several large corporations where he held senior HR and Operations roles, he is excited to be a part of the OMNIview team! John enjoys all things outdoors ...
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