Warm Bodies – The ‘Anyone Will Do’ Syndrome in Hiring

Hire FireI’ve spoken quite a bit before about ‘Panic Hiring’ in a broad sense of how it happens and why it is bad business sense. Its incidence is so common, and the way it almost always leads to a bad hire warrant further and deeper investigation.

For any small business or micro businesses doing their first hire, the cost in a resulting bad hire from a panic-based process is steep. As a quick guide, a study from Right Management (part of the Manpower Group) found that bad hires can cost any business a minimum of 30% to more than 5 times the annual salary, depending on the role, with an average of twice times this amount. When put up against a micro or small business, we are talking costs that would render a business insolvent, purely on the basis of one bad hire. For a larger business, this is a major hit that can be ill-afforded

The thing to remember is that bad hiring decisions are not intentionally made. Nor are they inevitable. The simple thing is they are made by carelessness;  by not putting enough thought to the overall holistic approach to hiring. Predominately decisions are made far too quickly and without proper checks and balances to make it a good decision.

Far too often, though, it is a case of ‘Anyone Will Do’.

Anyone Will Do is the simplest form of hiring. It is taking the first person that fits the skills of the role, is available straight away and seems to be suitable for the role. They are a ‘warm body’; there, seemingly ready to go and available.

It is also the laziest form of hiring.

When a new employee is hired under the  ‘Anyone Will Do’, they will start, often well, but it isn’t too long before the signs suggest this decision is going to backfire. Problems arise with performance, attitude and competence. Then issues around fit appear:  Workplace morale falls. Staff turnover increases. Customers start to abandon your business. Things start to go ‘missing’. Complaints increase.

They are the sign of a bad hire and the chances of this happening under the Syndrome are greatly increased. It happens because the quality checks were discarded in favour of a quick turnaround – checks that would pick up on issues that would question a candidate’s suitability.

If any person can identify this as occurring in their business, the question needs to be asked how was the hiring done.

Hiring needs attention. It needs time. It needs care.

However, let’s be honest here, business owners, decision makers and hiring managers – in fact anyone responsible for hiring – are flat-out busy. The incidence of new work, a leaving staff member or growth often bring that sense of panic and uncertainty to hiring, trying to ensure gaps are filled quickly with as little downtime as possible. A quick hire is seemingly best and the most appropriate action that results in as little downtime as possible.

It is this combination of busyness and panic that lead to the Anyone Will Do Syndrome.

So how are we, in the times when we are incredibly busy, avoiding a fall into this trap?

It’s hard. Very hard. I won’t beat around the bush. You have to think about this: the care you put into hiring this time will mean the difference between getting a great candidate and having to repeat the process again, and again and again and…….

It is the way a business hires; the process it chooses, that determines the success of the candidate chosen. The first candidate that comes across the desk of the hirer may indeed be the best fitting candidate, but only through rigorous checking, interviews and verifying skills, experience and background will the suitability of the candidate be confirmed.

The thing is, you must focus on what is needed to make a hiring process workable and accountable. Why? Not only do you and your business require a success when hiring, your customers demand that the people you have working for you are in tune with the way your business runs and do not come across as mere Band-Aid solutions.

Remember, bad hires are not solely an internal issue, they are an outward branding one. To avoid these is to avoid external damage to your business.

The final point here is to lay out the three things all business must do to  avoid a bad hire and the antidote to the ‘Anyone Will Do Syndrome’. They are investing in:

  • Enough time to make informed decisions;
  • Quality processes that ensure all information is at hand; and
  • Planning to cover all bases and proper checks.

Add these to any hiring situation your business is placed in, and your hiring health is assured.