Why Do Bad Full-Time Hires Happen?

A sneak peek into chapter two of Pam Wasley and Kristen McAlister’s new book The New Executive Search on why bad full-time hires happen.

The six reasons why you find yourself repeatedly dealing with bad full-time hires.

New Position

Replacing an executive role that has been in the company for years (if not decades) can be hard enough. What about a new position? Yes: the difficulty increases. In these cases, there is either no job description or a job description was conceived and written according to what the organization needs rather than what is realistic to find in one person. New positions carry with them a lot of unknowns; in almost every case, a great deal of flexibility will be needed. In marketing, they say the toughest thing is to take a new product into a new market. Hiring a new executive into the company for a new position is the equivalent, in talent acquisition terms.

Looking for Too Broad a Skill Set

Since executives have usually been in the job market longer than most people, it is often assumed that they know how to do most things in the organization. Unfortunately, they are then expected to do them all and do them well.

Not Enough Budget for Needed Talent

From experience, we understand the constraints of working in a small and growing company that needed very experienced executive leadership but couldn’t afford it. Instead, mid-level managerial employees were hired in at $60,000 per year and expected to lead a $20 million (and growing) organization in each of their respective areas. It went about as well as you might expect. On a full-time basis, at the executive level, you can usually apply the aphorism, “You get what you pay for.”

Company’s Needs Evolve More Quickly than People’s Skills Do

Your VP of sales & marketing was the perfect person when your company’s primary strategy was B2B sales channels; now you are looking at expanding the product lines and distribution into an eCommerce B2C strategy. Though some people can adjust, it is a steep learning curve, and they don’t always make the transition.

The incumbent’s skill set may be exactly what the company needed when they were hired, but within a year’s time, that can easily change. We also see this situation quite a bit with human resources and technology roles.

Unrealistic Expectations that lead to bad full-time hires

When a company is in a challenging state, it is natural to want to find a quick and easy solution, whether it is that one big client, the golden marketing idea, or the perfect executive hire who will be the savior for all.

There is no silver bullet. Executives aren’t superheroes. When hiring a VP of sales, if the target is “Double business in the next eighteen months,” and the sales team falls short, most often, the blame and frustration fall on the VP of sales hired just sixteen months prior (rather than the target itself). That is an unrealistic expectation to put on one person, especially if the company’s infrastructure and resources aren’t set up to achieve the goal.

Not Enough Infrastructure to Support Expectations

Just because someone has stellar expertise and has done what your company needs to be done many times at various companies, that does not mean they will be able to successfully accomplish it at your company. Every executive requires appropriate infrastructure and resources to be successful.

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