7 Talent Acquisition Mistakes to Avoid


This article is reprinted from PI Worldwide, News and Insights, July 2014.

A bad hire is not just bad for business—it can be very costly as well. International talent management experts estimate the average cost of a poor hiring decision to be equal to 30% or more of that hire’s first year’s probable earnings. For example, replacing a senior executive can reach upwards of $50,000. Factor in productivity loss and lost opportunities, morale implications, turnover and recruiting costs and the price tag starts to swell quickly. Fortunately, organizations can prevent the costs associated with poor hiring decisions by recognizing the challenges at different steps of the talent acquisition process. Here are the sevenmost common mistakes that can lead to a bad hire, and how to avoid them at the outset:

  1.  One Job, Different Definitions. Different stakeholders often have different perspectives on what makes someone successful in the role. Using a job analytic, organizations can objectively align all stakeholders on those activities critical for success.
  2. Poorly Written Job Description. In addition to noting activities and tactical goals of the job in the description, it’s important to detail all of the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other characteristics (KSAOs) that an employee will need to be successful in the role.
  3. Attracting the Wrong Behavioral Profile. A candidate that meets the minimum requirements of the job may not necessarily be a strong fit. Consider behavioral tendencies and attitudes in defining what makes a strong candidate and compare applicant profiles against the job target to determine compatibility.
  4. Screening Challenge. While technology can help organizations manage hiring volume, some systems will eliminate good fit candidates and retain applicants who prove to be a poor fit. Use a quick and practical assessment to measure each candidate’s behavioral assets.
  5. Unstructured Interviews. When hiring managers lack the training to conduct effective interviews, they often resort to generic interview questions that don’t evaluate the candidate in the areas that matter most. Using assessment data to inform the interviewing process helps all members of an interviewing team develop structured behavioral interview questions to determine job and culture fit with greater accuracy.
  6. Compelling the Candidate to Accept the Offer: In today’s hypercompetitive market for top talent, the key to getting a candidate to accept a job is presenting an offer that resonates with their innate motivating needs and drives. Organizations that do not align an offer with the behavioral profile of the person risk losing a strong candidate.
  7. Ineffective Onboarding: Once the hiring process has culminated in a great new hire, managers must embark on getting that individual embedded in the culture and productive quickly. Managers should continue to leverage the data and insight collected thus far to customize the new employee’s socialization and learning.

For more tips and best practices on improving your talent acquisition process, listen to our Webinar: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes that Lead to A Bad Hire and download our Infographic,  Can You Afford to Make A Bad Hire?  on the Sidebar.

Are we screening millennials out of the job market?

I need a job
In an opinion piece in the Seattle Times on June 19th, a young millennial, Raffi Wineburg, wrote a great editorial “Lip service useless for millennials.” As he pointed out, unemployment for 16 to 24 year olds is running 15%.  After investing in college, many young adults are coming out to no jobs available. These new additions to our workforce have talents to be leveraged if only we could put them on our radar and explore what they might have to offer. Instead so much of the conversation seems to be focused on what’s wrong with millennials. This is absolutely the wrong conversation. We should be instead seeking them out based on their inherent talents and asking how they can contribute in a meaningful way. If all organizations shifted their screening practices, we could make a major dent in the unemployment numbers of millennials.

Each new generation brings with it the seeds of social change and innovation. We as leaders should be trying to figure out any way possible to get these new folks into our organizations. They have grown up in complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. They have grown up in a totally networked world. They do not have the hangups that older generations have. They need to be brought into the interview process not screened out. What really sets the current new generation apart from past generations? They demand to be treated with respect. The old “just do what I say, I am the boss” approach is certainly not respectful, and is a sure fire way to get rid of millennials. But that assumes that you have been willing to hire millennials in the first place. If they are being screened out of the process for lack of experience, the screening process must be changed to screen on talent not resume. If they are being screened out because management does not want to create respectful management processes, I suggest that management must change. So many of our managers were trained to manage in a world that no longer exists. Get with the program would be my recommendation.

Changing manager behaviors to be respectful is a tall order, however, changing the screening process is actually quite an easy change. We are talking about looking for early talent. Some companies like SAP, actively recruit for early talent. They have set up process and goals to seek out and hire early talent. What they found was that the resume screening process that they had used and that most organizations use actively screens out early talent. They made the change to screen on talent before ever looking at the resume. To make this shift they selected Predictive Index (PI) as their assessment of choice to screen for talent. They generate a job profile for each position, this functionality is built into the PI solution, then every applicant takes a PI assessment. They have 70,000 employees BTW. The applicants PI is matched with the job profile to select first on talent. They then look at resume and decisions to select those who they will interview. The bottom line, if the applicant has an inherent talent match with the job profile, they are in the game. With the typical resume screening process, they would never make it out of the screening software and if they did, they would be discarded.

So if we are to take hiring millennials seriously, we need to consider changing our selection process to start with talent screening first. Hidden benefits are a much more efficient and effective process needing fewer people. And what you do get out of it? Employees who inherently can do the work they are hired to do and will excel in doing so. A win win all around.

If you would like to learn more about this process, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform an organization, please contact John Inman at or at 425-954-7256.

4 Guidelines to Building a Business Case for Workforce Analytics

This blog post is a repost of a PI Worldwide newsletter article that I felt should be shared.

Today’s leadership teams recognize the value of data to solve business challenges and gain a competitive advantage. However, creating the necessary support and sponsorship can be an obstacle to establishing a data-driven culture. As more business leaders look to secure funding for their workforce analytics initiatives, success hinges on their ability to make an effective business case. A May 2014 MIT Sloan Management research studyreports that investments in analytics have steadily increased since 2009 by an annual average growth rate of 8.5%. Further industry research suggests that organizations making these investments are two times more likely to improve their recruiting efforts and leadership pipelines, and are three times more likely to realize cost reductions and efficiency gains2.

Here are four guidelines to follow when building a business case for talent analytics3:

Define the business issue and determine your key stakeholders. In addition to understanding (and prioritizing) specific problem(s) that need to be solved, you must determine the individuals who will be impacted and involved in the process. Ask questions like: Who owns the issue we need to solve? Who would help champion this program? Who might challenge this program? Start by speaking with internal business leaders, line managers and other executives as you also conduct industry and market research.

Build a compelling solution. Detail the key components of your chosen solution and how it will be implemented. Consider dependencies like time, people and other projects. Key questions to pose include: Where will the solution be used? How will we roll out a multi-phase process? Should we combine the solution with another related initiative?

Quantify solution costs. Detail the hard and opportunity cost drivers of the solution—from the people expenses (e.g. headcount, training, hiring) to process costs (e.g. assessment costs, technology, overhead, etc.). Partner with key stakeholders to guide and validate cost assumptions.

Determine key metrics and define what success looks like. To make a concept meaningful, you need to make it measurable. Determine how you will quantify the benefits of the program/solution in terms of bottom line impact or other drivers that will resonate with your key audiences.

1 Kiron, Kirk Prentice, Boucher Ferguson. “The Analytics Mandate,” MIT Sloan Management Review. May 2014
2 Bersin by Deloitte. WhatWorks Brief. September 2013
3 Bersin by Deloitte. 2014

Download the PI Worldwide case study to learn how a National Healthcare Company Leverages Workforce Analytics to Build Strong Teams 

For more information contact John Inman at and at 425-954-7256

Retaining Employees – The Key to Competitive Success

Often the primary distinguishing characteristic between industry-leading companies and their less successful competitors is the quality and motivation of their people. Retaining talented, motivated people is critical to both current and future success. Studies of successful businesses indicate that the quality of employee life is largely a function of the quality of leadership. The better the boss is at recognizing, rewarding and developing the employees, the more willingly and enthusiastically those employees will stay and contribute to the company’s success.

Good leadership requires fine-tuning your messages and the conditions of work for each of your valuable employees. Here are some tips to help you more effectively retain people and maximize their energy and productivity from PI Worldwide.


  1. Clearly understand the job and context into which you place people. The closer the fit the more you tap into the natural energy and drive the individual can contribute and the better the work conditions positively affect and reward the person. The greater the extent to which the job requires opposing behaviors, the less likely it is that the job will consistently motivate excellent performance. So the key is to clarify, clarify, clarify! Keep working the job design to weed out non-essential requirements. Hone in on the key outputs and processes that will drive results. Remove competing, non-essential requirements and reassign them to a more appropriate person or eliminate the requirement altogether.
  2. Having clarified and fine-tuned the core job requirements, aim all supporting efforts such as performance tracking, training, coaching, and communicating at that core. Know the PI®’s (motivating needs) of your people and keep them in mind in your interactions with each individual. In each interaction, ask yourself how you can best approach the individual and positively stimulate them toward productive action.
  3. Don’t assume that all employees are looking for fast-track growth. Many would prefer to continue to do what they have been trained and educated to do. Look for opportunities to challenge them with more complex and interesting work utilizing their skills. Find ways to recognize their contributions and increased expertise. For those who are upward-bound, keep an eye on the individual’s career path:
  • Are his or her skills developing at the pace required to move forward when needed?
  • Have you and they identified the range of possible future opportunities? Remember, the best opportunities may not lie in a straight line upward.
  • Are you helping pave the way by creating opportunities for others in leadership to gain an understanding of their skills and potential?

Finally, look to your own PI®. Which of these leadership mandates come easily to you? Which are more difficult? What are you doing to design your own work or team to meet the mandate in the ways that will be most successful for you?

I can help you find your local PI® Consultant so that you and your company learn how PI® can transform your organization. Contact John Inman for more information and at 425-954-7256.

Originally distributed by PI Worldwide in ActionPI.

Getting the right people in the right positions transforms organizations

There is so much time and energy invested trying to get people to perform in jobs for which they are not suited. There is a better way. And that better way is to do a better job in the selection process. This cannot be done by simply screening resumes better, as resume screening is ineffective 80% of the time. Doing better on this is not yielding results. We need predictable performance improvement and resume screening is not the way to get it. Genetic predisposition is what creates over 50% of the success of a person in an organization. This is where the focus must be, understanding the genetic behaviors and cognition that a person brings to the organization. As well, if an employee is failing, rather than removing them from the organization, a much better and more respectful approach is finding a job that suits their genetics. So whether it is initial screening of applicants, repositioning of struggling employees, screening for advancement, or accelerating high performance, effectively assessing genetics is the best solution. Visit my people analytics page to learn more about a potential solution.