CO - HR Innovation

Why Do I Keep Hiring the Wrong People?

Why Do I Keep Hiring the Wrong People?

According to Hudson Singapore, 37% of employers are expecting to increase headcount in the first half of 2015. Amidst Singapore’s labour crunch, the need to score the right hire cannot be over emphasised.  Harvard Business Review points to as much as 80 percent of employee turnover are due to bad hiring decisions.  Adding a price tag to this, the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) cited the cost of bad hiring decisions to be up to five times the annual salary of the bad hire.  The risks and costs associated with bad hires could be better mitigated by employing the right techniques in the selection process.  For this article, we will focus on selection interviews.

Typical interviews have an effectiveness index of less than 50 percent.  Yet they remain a favourite amongst hiring managers.  People are generally creatures of habit, hence it would usually be more convenient to rely on gut feelings.  In contrast, Competency-Based Interviews (CBI) score more than 70 percent in the effectiveness index.  Everyone can use CBIs effectively, with the following tips:

  1. Study in detail, the description of the job as well as behavioural traits of successful incumbents and predecessors to draw out the functional and behavioural competencies required for the job.
  2. Once the competencies of the job are clearly defined, design CBI questions to assess the candidate’s competencies. Ask broad, open questions.  Probe for relevant details and narrow to the answer you are looking for.  Ask for specific details of relevant past examples.  After all, past behaviours are better indicators of future success.  Summarise and paraphrase if need be to confirm your understanding.
  3. One way to structure the CBI questions is to use the STAR method:

Situation/Task – ask the candidate to describe the specific incident in the past.  This sets the context for which the competency was demonstrated.

An example of such a question could be, “Tell us an incident in the past, when you had to motivate a difficult subordinate.”

Action – ask the candidate to describe the steps s/he took to address the situation/task.

An example of such a question could be, “How did you go about motivating that person?”

Result – ask the candidate to describe the outcome.

An example of such a question could be, “How did your action turn out?”

Other useful CBI questions to ask can include contrary examples, such as “Tell me a time when you failed to achieve your intended goals.  What did you learn from that and how would you have done things differently?”

During the interview process, be sure to avoid questions that are closed, hypothetical, leading, irrelevant and discriminatory, as they would compromise the quality of the selection process.

Human Capital is the key to cultivating unique competitive edge of corporations.  The war of talent intensifies with the passage of time.  Using the right set of tools can help make your search for the right talent more fulfilling.

  • Jin-Hwui LEE
    Jin-Hwui LEE
    Human Resources Director (HRBP & COE Lead - Faculty & Research) Nanyang Technological University

    Jin Hwui is a multiple award winning, seasoned Singapore-based HR leader with more than 20 years of experience in achieving business goals through the people agenda. He has successfully led both HR and multi-disciplinary teams in Singapore and across the region to develop engaged and productive workforces to fulfil business needs. Following his Best HR Manager Award in 2012, Jin Hwui currently heads the HR function with interests in Singapore and the region.

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