Hire for Sustained Success


We usually select people to hire by answering the questions, “Can they do the job? Have they done the job?”  We want to know their skills, knowledge, experience, and (for some roles) professional network. Though important, these factors paint an incomplete picture. We also need to hire people who will stay.

When people don’t stay, we incur lots of cost and pain. The usual cost estimates for replacing someone are 2-3 times their salary; one study that included all the opportunity costs of turnover pegged the rate conservatively at 25 times salary!

To hire well, we must ask one additional question, “Do they fit?”

When people fit, we don’t want to fire them and they want to stay. When people don’t fit, two things can go wrong. In both cases, the newly hired person may initially succeed then crash. The first reason is that the way they succeed creates friction. The sales rep who brings in lots of revenue and who intimidates clients and staff cannot have sustained success. The second reason is that our focus, approach, and values may rub them the wrong way. The VP of Engineering who thrived in a steady, even-paced environment may not be able to tolerate the hectic “mad house” of our start-up.

To hire for fit, look for shared values and complementary needs. Discover their values (and yours) by asking what’s important and why or try professional assessment tools. (For hiring, I use one called TriMetrix.) Share your organization’s needs, wants, and desires, and brainstorm how the candidate can help fulfill these. Learn what their needs, wants, and desires are and see how your organization can help in return.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: wilhei55 via photopin cc


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