3 Ways to Keep Deadbeat Employees Out of Your Company

Today, your brand and reputation is built by those who touch your customers — your employees. It is your responsibility to guard the door to your business to allow only those who care about your customers in the way you do, and are committed to the values, beliefs, and mission of the business, to enter — to keep the deadbeats out.

Many organizations view hiring as a necessary evil instead of as the method to build the performance power of the organization. Understanding the impact the wrong employees have on the business (cost of mis-hire including replacement cost, impact on reputation, workplace interruption, etc.) encourages a more focused and determined effort on attracting, sourcing, and hiring the right ones. Here are three things that those who guard their doors to keep average and non-committed employees out of their high-performing organizations do:

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  1. They commit the time to create a performance profile; they clearly define the behaviors, skills, and experience needed from employees on Day 1. They commit to understanding the activities in the role and the behaviors, skills, and experience that an employee will need to have to consistently perform these activities. Clarity about the performance needs creates the ability to source, interview, and hire with great precision.
  2. They are creative and innovative in building a talent sourcing strategy. They don’t simply rely on headhunters, job postings, or placing ads; they use the defined qualifications to identify and target specific environments that have those who have the required behaviors, skills, and experience. For example, if the core abilities needed to be successful in a job are to be focused, driven, methodical, and tenacious, then placing an ad in the program at a local marathon, triathlon, or 5k road race targets those who have these abilities (those who train and compete in this form of event have the behaviors that fit the organization). This creates a tighter focus and approach for locating specific abilities than simply posting an ad on any of the large Internet job boards.
  3. They make all interview candidates prove what they know. Savvy interviewers know they must verify, prove, check, and confirm, all critical information. I now regularly coach my clients to add this line to their job postings, “If this is you (after listing the required qualifications) and can prove it, you could be a great fit for our team.” This informs candidates that you are serious about the defined qualifications and that the interview will be used to assess the degree that each attribute, skill, or experience exists. To prove what candidates know, consider giving them actual workplace situations in your questions to assess their thinking and approach in situations they are likely to encounter in your workplace.

Our people are our profits — they have a direct influence on our success. So hire only get the great ones, but also prevent those who don’t have the required qualifications from the organization. They can negatively affect the brand and the customers. We are the guards at the doors of our businesses, ready, trained ,and committed to allowing only the great employees in.

Jay Forte is a workplace consultant, certified executive coach, business speaker and author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. He is the president and founder of TGZ Group, an organization committed to transforming organizations and lives through talent-based tools, education, and coaching. He writes the Manage for Big Bold Results newsletter, is the host of the Fire Up! Your Employees Podcast (Feb 1, 2014), and is a frequent chapter and national SHRM speaker. His Fire Up! Process, tools, books, and information can be found at FireUpYourEmployees.com.


3 Comments on “3 Ways to Keep Deadbeat Employees Out of Your Company

  1. I know a lot of really neurotic runners, but that’s another subject…

    Hiring only the great ones is like a portfolio of only blue-chips; gonna be hard to outperform the market that way. Its likely better to hire some losers (flyers) in a probabilistic array, most especially if your business involves innovation, creativity, human connection, or rapid change.

    If your business is scaled out, mature, non-dynamic, and based on essentially on operational efficiency or crisp execution, then a conservative portfolio is most certainly indicated, but the steps described here would not likely be enough; you would want validated assessment (ideally via work simulation).

    The cost of missing good hires may be higher than tolerating the costs of poor hires, as with certain investment portfolios (e.g. venture firms take a lot of failed companies for the few big winners) and a big mistake in others (e.g. little old ladies seeking to preserve capital should have zero losers).

    No hard and fast rules; the situation will dictate the proper balance…

  2. Thanks, Jay.
    “Strategy?” “Committing the time”? What do these words mean?

    Also, there’s a way of making absolutely certain that an organization doesn’t hire the wrong person, and it’s practiced every day by large numbers of companies: being so afraid of the consequences of a bad hire that you’re unable/unwilling to hire ANYONE. This is often combined with: “Lets blame it on the recruiter for not finding the perfect candidate”.



  3. Jay,

    It is difficult to argue with your counsel. To a large degree it is all mostly ‘HR common sense’.

    I believe many of the high-profile tech companies have a lot of what you say down to a science.

    However, for many mainstream companies there are barriers to success contained in their DNA that in many cases prevent your agenda from launch:

    They are, for example, the candidate application process; the first screening of resumes by ‘weak link’ HR staff who are risk-adverse and/or lack intuitive insight; corporate HR staff who refuse to see ‘one more resume’ coming from an external recruitment firm; recruitment vendor lists that cap the number of resumes being forwarded to HR for review; the avoidance of terminating managers who burn out their team members and short term corporate goals that stifle creative problem solving by those who see the larger picture or whose tendency toward innovation is not perceived as being consistent with corporate and/or department goals.

    In other words, your ‘infrastructure for hiring’ is well-intended but as Keith, for example, points out, unless the Enterprise is efficient in all respects to Staffing and Retention, the best laid plans of mice and men will continue to an elusive butterfly.

    Perhaps triggers for Excellence such as is exhibited in the December 2013 issue of HUMAN RESOURCE EXECUTIVE magazine with its “Most Admired for HR” list will serve to further your cause by compelling companies to compete for wise hiring.

    On the other hand, it is at Kris Dunns’ February 14 2014 blog, “People Join Companies For The Brand, Quit Because of the Boss….” that we see an example of bullying (that causes a team member to resign) at the same company that is listed as #1 of the HR Executive magazine’s ‘most admired list’.

    So you see, the best laid plans require a holistic approach.

    Good ideas have historically been trashed for lack of effective follow-up, follow-through and not having been provided an infrastructure for effectiveness that does not start with a broken ATS.

    Jay, your post is a good one and in order for it to show up as having been executed successfully consistently it is totally necessary for the underpinnings to such ideas to not be built on mud.

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