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4 in 10 CFOs cite 'mismatched skill set' in failed hires, according to new survey

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November 29, 2016

According to a new survey via Robert Half Finance & Accounting, approximately four in ten CFOs polled (38 percent) cited a "mismatched skill set" to account for failed hires.

Results were similar to an earlier 2011 survey, also via Robert Half, with 2016 results seeing a slight uptick in mismatched skill sets and "personality conflicts."

Another 27 percent of CFOs believed that "unclear performance expectations" was the top reason some new hires didn't pan out. Notably, CFOs representing the smallest businesses (20-49 employees) were more likely than those at the largest organizations (1,000 or more employees) to cite "unclear performance expectations" and "personality conflicts" for failed hires.

"Hiring is hard enough, but it's even harder when you have to do it twice," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, per a statement. "Don't impede your efforts by recycling old job descriptions. Develop a fresh overview for each opening, listing the skills required for candidates to be successful now and in the future. Promote why your business is a great place to work, emphasizing the organization's mission, culture and career growth opportunities. This, combined with a compelling, relevant job description, will help attract top performers who fit the firm's needs."

Robert Half asked CFOs: "Aside from poor performance, which one of the following factors is most likely to lead to a failed hire?" Their responses are as follows, separated by company size:

Number of Employees

Total

20-49

50-99

100-249

250-499

500-999

1,000+

Mismatched skill set

38%

39%

39%

32%

37%

40%

45%

Unclear performance expectations

27%

26%

26%

32%

26%

36%

21%

Personality conflicts

20%

21%

20%

20%

22%

19%

13%

Failure to fit into corporate culture

15%

15%

14%

15%

15%

5%

21%

 

100%

101%

99%

99%

100%

100%

100%

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

Photo: Robert Half

Robert Half offers the following tips to avoid a bad hire:

1. Identify the must-haves. Make a list of essential skills and those that can be learned through training. While technical expertise can help people land the job, it's their soft skills that ensure they're a fit for the company and can take on greater responsibilities.
2. Don't shortcut the reference check. Talk to candidates' former managers to get a better sense of whether employees might do well at your firm. Ask about individuals' work styles, strengths and areas for improvement.
3. Get outside help. By tapping the extensive networks of a specialized recruiting firm, you gain access to a larger talent pool. A recruiter can help evaluate each job seeker based on the required skills and performance expectations and accelerate the hiring process.
4. Act immediately. If you find a great applicant, move quickly and offer attractive compensation. Robert Half research shows promising candidates lose interest when companies delay making a decision. Don't prolong the process.

 For more on Robert Half, head to their site here.

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