The Big Secret – Recruitment Interviews Don’t Work

The Big Secret – Recruitment Interviews Don’t Work

We have a recruitment interview Breakdown – 86% of interviews fail to pick the right person for the job.

According to a Michigan State University study on predictors of performance,

Some 90 per cent of hiring decisions are made as the result of the interview, but interviewing is only 14 per cent accurate

During an interview candidates are naturally on their best behaviour, acting to impress. However, it’s their true behavioural patterns you should focus on.


Studies of the recruitment interviews show that the typical outcomes are:

  1. 15% pick the right person
  2. 30% pick someone who can do the job
  3. 45% pick someone who fails

Okay, as an entrepreneur you need to make a choice. Either your new enterprise wants the best people and is committed to excellence in all that you do, in which case getting the right person into the right job is an absolute must or you are willing to get anyone so long as they can ‘start right away’.

Clearly, if you are committed to excellence, then you will accept that the traditional way of recruitment isn’t working, but most business don’t accept this. Why is it that intelligent and able managers are reluctant to accept this finding?

Well, at one level, they just need to get on with the job (that is saying, get me anyone who can do it, forget about excellence) and at another level they may say, well, there isn’t a better way.

Well, in truth, there is a better way. Two ways in fact.

Firstly, you can stick with the traditional recruitment process but improve your success rate with testing tools such as McQuaig. Now McQuaig, for instance, claim that using their testing will significantly increase your recruitment success rate to:

  1. 65% Right person (up from 15%)
  2. 20% Will do job
  3. 15% Fail

If your business is focused on excellence, you will want to embrace this or a similar methodology. However, even those of us who know we should use these tools, we often don’t. Why? Because we are in a hurry.

That same desire to ‘get the job done’ is getting in the way of you hiring the best talent.

Now, let’s be clear here, we are not talking about the ‘best talent’ in the way that you might wish to hire the highest scoring striker in Football’s UK Premier League or a top Quarterback for American Football, but we are talking about someone who is right for the job – and can do it with excellence.

To say that there is more than one person who can do a job with excellence is is not a compromise on excellence. All businesses need to rely on the fact that staff are replaceable – otherwise you don’t have a business but a talent agency or football team!

Therefore, for us to remain true to our business objective of excellence, we need to get the right person in the right job.

Now, 85% failure rate isn’t good enough, so we must use other recruitment tools, right?

Yes, and… there are ways to increase your recruitment success – or at least to reduce the costs of your recruitment failures.

Not only is recruitment expensive in terms of time, but it also costs 15 to 20% of annual salary which goes to the recruitment agency, 1 or 2 months of training or below par performance to allow the new member to get their feet under the table, management time and support during this period too.

In my experience, you can quickly identify those people who simply can’t do the job, but it takes much longer to know that you’ve got the right person in the right job.

Hence, even though you can remove the obvious people who don’t fit, you still face up to 30% of the total or two thirds of your remaining team who aren’t going to work out longer term.

And yes, you can reduce this by metrics, but you want to make the problem go away as much as possible because it is the biggest threat to your organisations ability to deliver excellence.

Therefore, one way to improve this metric is to hire people on contract and, the more people that you know, the greater ability you will have to draw from your existing and widening base of freelancers or contractors.

If you combine some form of interview and metrics with a fixed contract or freelance structure, then you have a much higher chance of hiring excellence.

And, as we discussed before, allowing those freelancers to move onto other projects is a good idea, as it allows them to come back to your future projects refreshed emotionally and with new ideas.



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