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.






How Do You Hire On Fit…When Surrounded By Panic? 6 Tips to Consider

Panic buttonSlowly, ever so slowly, the realisation is surfacing amongst some businesses that hiring with fit in mind – character, attributes, behaviours that fit the overall culture of the organisation – is paramount in ensuring not only a successful hire, but a solidly engaged employee from day one.

Yet, other businesses still fall for a panic-induced hire – overlooking the fit of a candidate for a role and instead opting for an immediate hit of skills to suffice an immediate need, without realising (or caring about) the longer-term issues that could arise. It’s like a craving for chocolate – the immediate hit of yumminess is bliss…yet the later effects of calories, weight or sugar, doesn’t enter the equation when the craving hits.

So within this, we have an impasse: on one hand, the realisation of the importance of fit is there, but there is still the overriding sense of panic and the quick fix that comes as a result of it.

So how do we do it? How, amongst the panic and stress of a vacant seat in the office or station on the floor, do we put care into the hiring process and incorporate fit into candidate requirements?

It’s not easy.

However, put these ideas in place, and it will be a lot easier (and far more successful):

1. Know Your Culture

Do you know what makes your team click? Have you properly defined how your employees are engaged? Do you know the importance of an engaged workplace? What are the behaviours, traits or characteristics that make your team cohesive? If you can’t answer these, you are not going to be able to hire against it. Not at all.

2. Time is Key

Seemingly the antithesis of panic, the fact that time creates great outcomes should not be discounted. Give yourself time to plan, source and select with care. Whilst the sense of overriding pressure to find someone will be very strong, the importance of getting it right first time cannot be undervalued.

Remember this – get it wrong, you will be doing it again…and again. The costs just in that repetitive process will be high, even before time drains will kick in

3. Plan Plan Plan

Along with allowing time to hire right comes the need to plan accordingly and to do so even before a hiring need arises. A good decision is based on proper accumulation of information about a candidate to qualify this decision. This information will only be properly attained by ensuring all step of a hiring process are carried through properly, and these steps are part of an overall hiring plan. The plan should be an integral part of the overall business plan, ready to be referred to the moment the needs arise.

4. Source Candidates Before You Need Them

Planning also caters to the times when a need to fill a role is not immediate. Using the time to identify potential candidates that may be either in the market and identifiable via social media or internal referral systems. Just like recruitment agencies have databases of potential candidates, so too can employers do the same to ensure there is a ready-made stream of candidates there who are possible ready to go when the new hiring need drops on them.

5. Get the Basics Right

The secret to any good hire is making sure the basics are covered. If you find yourself in an unplanned hiring process, at the very least get these essential points covered:

  • Define the role: what is the role that is to be filled, how it fits into the overall business and growth plans and it’s function
  • Define the Person: the skills needed and what behaviours / characteristics / cultural elements must be there. Model on a top employee if stuck
  • Define the Strategy: how you will find that person to fill the role

6. Don’t PANIC!

Yes I know it’s hard, but if you find that this gap in your workforce is giving you nightmares, step back. You are going to make a very bad hire if you go in there without a clear head and open eyes. It is simply not going to work. Think of how this is going to affect your business if you get it horribly wrong. Quality is driven by care and attention…not by panic.


Top 10 Hiring Mistakes – #9 Panic Hiring

Dont PanicThe moment when a staff member leaves or an influx of new work hits a business is usually the time it reduces to panic stations in an attempt to replace or cater. It is this panic, though, that breeds poor hiring decisions, as they are based on nothing but a simple concept of “they will do”.

“They Will Do” is code for simplistic and pretty much baseless decisions – they look good, speak well, seem to have some of the skills…and they are there. They are hired in an instant, usually forgoing the rudimentary background checks, and are thrust into the role

…and it is then that the business realises it has made a bit of an error.

As per Hiring Mistake #10, the skills check out fine, but there is insufficient details on the fit. Therefore the whole hiring process is compromised as it was not fully completed. Likewise, the employee is generally put into the role, given a list of tasks that they may need some skills-updating on, has no proper hand-over or orientation, and is promptly placed on the back-foot. Putting a new employee on the back-foot so early into their role spells danger for any business, as that new employee becomes more and more disillusioned and more and more likely to look for a fast exit…and the business finds it is back to square one once again.

Hiring is something that cannot be done quickly, or with a number of short-cuts. It has to be done carefully. Whether it is to replace a staff member or to cater to increased workloads, no amount of time saving by a quick-fire hire will replace the time required to re-do the hire because the first or second or subsequent hires didn’t work out.

Business cannot afford to run around screaming “I need a new employee NOW!”, because it is the best way to ensure the end result is a failed hiring process and a bad hire. When we panic, all logic seems to desert us. Francis P. Cholle, in Psychology Today says that “Panic often leads to drastic decision making, throwing a holistic solution right out the window”. When you have a situation that needs to be solved, sense and consideration must be at the forefront. Hiring, particularly, requires a level head and clear mind – panic or stress offers neither.

Finally, when you consider that a bad hire can cost a business anywhere from 30% to 5 times the annual salary of that hire, it can end up being a significant cost to the business on the basis of one, incredibly careless hiring decisions stemmed from panic.