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Get Your Scary Thrills at the Movies - not at Work!

As far as nightmares go, nothing is scarier to a CEO than hiring someone who appears to be perfect for the job, and then finding out quickly that he or she is not only NOT perfect, but a train wreck. And this can happen anytime – not just around Hallowe'en. Just a glance at what scary hires can do to a company:  

There are all sorts of causes for high turnover, but one big culprit is stress. In fact, 40 percent of all job turnover is due to stress. And guess what causes stress? It happens most when the person on the job does not fit with his environment.

Consider the individuals in your own company who seem to thrive on multitasking, live for answering emails and phone calls simultaneously, and juggling with finesse two people talking to them at once. As long as they are in control, they are fine. They fit their jobs. To someone who likes to work alone in silence, these kind of fast-lane jobs would be like a giant, scary roller-coaster ride. And what if the workers who love a fast pace had to fill out endless paperwork? In a word, stress. And what does stress lead to? Turnover. The rule: Make sure the person, the job and the company culture are meant for each other. 

You know the woman with the great resume and references who just went to work in Accounts Payable even though she applied for another job? Your organization hired her because the other job was closed, and they did not want someone of her competence to get away. But guess what? Since she started her job, her department has not met a deadline and repetitive stress injury complaints are up about 20 percent. She doesn't understand the work, she refuses to listen to employees, and she seems totally clueless about the company. All of this is at odds with her resume. That's because the people who hired her forgot the rule: Know the job candidate well before you hire her. Know her better than she knows herself.

If your CEO was a bad fit and is leaving, remember these figures: Two decades ago, Xerox estimated that it cost them $1 million to $1.5 million to replace a top executive. Estimates of replacing the average employee range from $3,000 to $15,000. It depends on the job, of course, but figure in the costs of recruiting, interviewing, travel and training. These are all replacement costs, as well as lost time on the job, either when it was vacant or when someone had to let other tasks go to train the new employee.

What about other costs? Organizations spend billions on workers compensation claims. As experts note, vastly more money goes to existing claims than to preventing the problems in the first place. What if someone in your organization was in charge of making sure all equipment fit the job and the workers, that everything was working correctly, and that all workers knew how to use the equipment efficiently and safely? These all sound like easy fixes, but someone in your company has to keep his eye on the detail.

There is also the overwhelming cost of unhappy workers giving your customers poor service. They can deprive the company of countless thousands of dollars in future business.

Remember the rule: The people you are counting on to advance your company and help it grow can actually cost it millions. This is the opposite of growth.  
So what can an organization do to prevent the chill down the spine of blind, scary hiring? Many solutions are available. For one thing, there is more public information than ever before about candidates on social networking sites, and employers can make good use of this information. These sites can tell us about everything from communication skills to what the job candidate thinks is appropriate information to reveal about himself.

The best organizations use a number of different tools to make important hiring decisions, from good recruiting to informed job interviews to selection based on more than just a gut instinct to an attractive resume. They do not overlook the importance of assessments in supplying information they could not get otherwise about how well the employee would be suited to the job, other employees, and the company culture.

Hallowe'en has its place. But remember that fear of the unknown is something best enjoyed at the movies. In real life, you want to know what your organization faces. The workers you hire and train today can minimize the uncertainties of tomorrow.   

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