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Human Error In Hiring

Human Error in Hiring (VIDEO)

The statistics show that most hiring managers have buyers remorse within 6 months after hiring someone. Where does it break down? Well, the answer is human error.



Today, I want to talk with those of you who hire people as part of your work. There's a real simple point I want to make today and I won't take up a lot of your time. I think it's a very useful want to learn to be reminded of.

The lesson is that if you are having trouble hiring, if the people that you're bringing on board aren't effective, the issue isn't in HR. The issue is with you and with your team who are involved with the evaluation process. Let's see where it can break down.

So you take a job description and start interviewing people. Often, what happens, particularly in large organizations, is that you have a job description, but it was something that was approved years ago, someone in HR which is in their system, pulls it out and gets approved and you are off to the races. You share with different third-party recruiters who start screening people against that spec, but you've actually tweaked it in a number of different ways but don't tell them about the tweaks. As a result, you don't get next to the full range of potential hires that could be useful to you. As a result, they may be sending the right one by accident.

That may not be you. Let's look at where most likely is you.

You have people in only routine that you use to start evaluating and assessing people but you're not very clear about what you want them to evaluate for. As a result, what they do is start pulling arbitrary questions out. If you don't believe me, you are ignoring my 40+ years of experience doing this. It happens all the time. You haven't been clear enough with your team about all you want them to assess for.

By this I mean, "Sam, I want you to talk with them about this. These are the points I want you to hit with them and I want to see how they measure up. Tell me what their answers are and give me some feedback." From they are, you don't ask your subordinate, "Did you like them?" The one question you ask is, "Were they qualified? How did they answer this question? " That is all you care about… Qualifications, not whether they were liked.

You want diversity of thought, but no one arbitrary questions asked. You want to meet a baseline of expectations.

From there (this is the big one, folks), you get off script. You, as a hiring manager make a mistake... The mistake of liking this person as a person. As they say in the psychotherapy world, you project attributes onto this individual that they don't have.

I say this because, you have to remember, from the job hunter perspective, they are on good behavior. They're not this way in real life. YOU may not be acting this way in real life; you may also be on good behavior. As a result, each of you may be wearing a "costume"and thus how do you figure out whether this human being is the right person who will fit into your group?

That's why I always say, forget about fit. There are the obvious examples like the person who walks in wearing shorts to interview with the all suit environment. Isn't going to work out in the all suit environment.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. changes that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions. NOW WITH A 7 DAY FREE TRIAL

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Measuring The Right Thing When You Hire (VIDEO)

If Peter Drucker is right, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. But what if you are managing the wrong thing? What if your measurements are incomplete?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice and encouragement, visit my website, <a href="http://” >

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How To Interview For Cultural Fit (VIDEO)

I believe that firms are kidding themselves when they think they can interview for cultural fit.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice & encouragement, visit my website.

Ready to schedule your first coaching call?

Interview Questions to Determine Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO)

As organizations grow or expand, emotional intelligence becomes a more important factor when interviewing new leaders. In this video I offer several basic questions that any person can ask to assess for whether someone is self-aware.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice and encouragement, visit my website, <a href="http://” >

Ready to schedule your first coaching call?

The Most Important Word No One Uses in Job Search, Hiring and Leadership


If there’s one thing that I learned in my long career as a headhunter it is that few employers know how to interview someone. 

They develop job specifications and then promptly ignore them, adapting them on the fly without communicating to staff how to vary their critique of potential new hires.

They are concerned about “fit” but use no objective measure to evaluate their existing staff or potential hires for actual fit.  In addition, they forget that both they and the potential new job hunter are on “good behavior” during the interview, trying to create a positive impression with one another.  How can you measure fit when both parties are lying to one another?

They never tell their staff who is involved with the interview how they are to evaluate someone for the role, leaving it to them to figure it out… Or worse, walking over to someone and saying, “Can you interview this person for me?  I have to finish a call (or my meeting is running long).”  

They ask people, “What do you think,” instead of, “Are they qualified?”  Then, they ask no follow-up questions to seek clarification of the opinion.


The lowest statistic I’ve ever seen for buyer’s remorse among employers is 50%.  50% of all employers regret a new hire that they made within 6 months.  The highest statistic I’ve seen is 82%.  New hires feel similarly.  Within 6 months, most regret the decision that they made to join.

The problem comes down to each is making a decision based upon “the performance” the other was giving and how that measures up to the image they have in their mind of how someone should act.

For example, we know employers will never ask the question, “Are you a leader?”  And rightly so.  After all, what do you expect someone to say?  “No, I am a follower not a leader.”  The next time that answer is given will be the first time.

Instead, we all look for behaviors that are congruent with our image of how someone should behave during an interview.  Thus, the word I am referring to in the title of the article is congruence.  How your behavior is in agreement with, is consistent with, in harmony with, matches with, is in unity with our idea of how someone should conduct them oneself to be qualified for a role that we are trying to fill.

When leaving an organization, we often do the same thing.  We ascribe virtue to people who agree with us and “shut up” people who don’t.  Obedience is rewarded as agreement with us.  This agreement is rebuked is not being consistent with being “a team player.”

Presidents are often criticized for surrounding themselves with “yes men” and “yes women” yet in organizations everyone in a position of authority makes the same mistake of creating a “hallelujah chorus” around themselves.

So, in your systematic way of hiring people, you have created a systematic way of maintaining a closed loop of information around yourself and then reinforce it once the new person is on board.

Does that make a lot of sense to you?

One way of thinking of it is in the immortal comic strip, Pogo, and it’s famous statement, “We have met the enemy and it is us.

The fact is that most leadership and hiring comes from images we have of someone and how they should conduct themselves, rather than on the basis of any fact. We choose to hire people like us or our image of what someone should be like, instead of useful criteria.

We expect others to behave differently than we do and wonder why they screwed up. People are hired because they look and behave like we do and forget both of us are on good behavior during the meeting.

We are the problem with hiring and with leadership in our organizations.


“I’m starting with the Man In The Mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

                                                             ~Michael Jackson, Man In The Mirror


It is time to look in the mirror and take responsibility for why your staff leaves, you hire poorly, lose people you want to bring on, get “half effort” from your team and, to be clear, this is not a purely a problem for managers. It is a problem at the highest levels of your organization.

Start with yourself and your leadership. Dissect it for congruence. Create inspired disharmony (that does not mean being disagreeable. People can disagree without being disagreeable).


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2017


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a leadership and career coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for and

Follow him at The Big Game Hunter, Inc. on LinkedIn for more articles, videos and podcasts than what are offered here and jobs he is recruiting for.

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Why You Lose Potential New Hires (VIDEO)

In this video I discuss how employers lose potential employees that they wanted to hire.


I thought I would do something for employers, hiring managers to help you understand why you lose potential new hires that you really want to bring on board. It really starts off with a couple of things that float around the kind of build on themselves.

First of all, you have unrealistic expectations and then construct incomplete/inaccurate/over-the-top job descriptions they could make it really hard for you to get to people who you would want to hire in the 1st place.

You take too long in the selection process. Why? Not everyone is on board with what they are assigned to look for. As a result, some people are screaming against their idea of what is being sought versus your idea of what you need is. Thus, there is confusion. Sometimes in the attempted rigorous process. You don't tell the person who is going to be screening for you what you want them to screen for. As a result, when someone magically makes it through this over interviewed process, they are turned off. They don't really like what their experience has been. No one has sold them on the opportunity at any point and, if they have, it hasn't been repeatedly reinforced, nor the person reminded of it throughout the process. They forget because it happened so long ago.

Thus, from the job hunter perspective, you have had too many cooks pounding them from different directions. You may say, "So what? We are learning!" Yet, when you are hiring someone, everything that you are doing, just like everything they are doing creates an image. You are asking to get it passed, but you wouldn't give a job Hunter repass if they did that to you, right?

You have to reconstruct your approach to this by shortening the hiring process, getting clear about what you are looking for, making it clear to everyone who is involved in the process what you want them to evaluate for . . . Do you follow that?

You try to do all this and is concise and manner as is possible and as few visits as possible because, even in down markets, you are competing with other firms that are looking for talent. If the other firm is streamlining the process as many firms are, then, you will be coming in late. You are coming in after someone else has already done a better job of "selling" them.

When you over interview, when you are not clear with everyone about what you want them to assess for, it is like going to a bad party (at least from a job hunter's perspective). They are in the center of the circle and everyone is taking shots at them and they have no idea what is going on.

When you finally extended offer, (1) you are now competing with people and (2) as a result of your firm's terrible behavior during the process, they have been undersold on the opportunity and no relationship has really been built with the job hunter, (3) you are now susceptible to a counteroffer from their current employer. After all that work, after all that effort, you lose them because your process stank.

I just want to encourage you to follow some of the suggestions I have made here. Don't over interview. Get clear about what it is you are looking for. Think in terms of "reasonable expectations" and get everyone on board with what it is THEY, in particular, will be involved with interviewing and assessing for. No more. No less..

When they give you feedback (and this is a big part of it), "Are they qualified?" Once you meet them and use that information that you have gotten from others, I want you to think of how they might relate to the people in your current organization without using the word, "fit." After all, you do want diversity, not just simply from a racial, religious, or cultural perspective, you want diversity of thought, don't you? You want people who see problems differently so that you receive multiple perspectives.

Too often, it is used, to inject bias into the process and, worse than that, create a "me, too" culture where everyone agrees with one another and you are only receiving one viewpoint.

So, I just want to offer you a few of these reasons why you lose job applicants that you have worked so hard to evaluate and have wanted to hire. They are so easily correctable.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice & encouragement, visit my website.

Ready to schedule your first coaching call?

Influence, Hiring and Retention

Respectfully, you are mistaken if you believe that people join your firm because you have a “great opportunity.” Almost every firm I know makes that claim and, in fact, most opportunities are pretty ordinary.

They amount to little more than plugging a square peg into a square hole for a few dollars more per week after taxes.

Yet people accept this all the time and it begs the question, “Why?”

“What causes people to accept the same tedium at a new organization for what often amounts to a few dollars, rupees or euros in additional wages after taxes?

The answer is actually pretty simple and comes right out of Sales Training 101 Circa 1975:

Sell the sizzle and not the steak.

In this case, by selling the brand your firm represents in the marketplace, you are able to create the idea of hope, opportunity and desire that so many aspire to.

But the next question is once they are there and they know that they are basically doing the same job for a different manager, what keeps someone.

That answer is also pretty simple and goes back to my MSW (Masters in Social Work) days when I was reminded that people are social animals who operate in relationship to other social animals. Your biggest grouch and grump and your biggest introvert are social animals who will still with you because of relationships with others.

Without doing things to bind people to their group, department, manager, peers or organization, many people lose the feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves and have little to hold them with you.

It is like the story of the platoon or military unit who will do amazing things because they feel the power of the relationship with the other men and women.

Unless your managers do positive things to create loyalty, trust and relationship, unless such behavior is part of your corporate makeup, your staff will be tempted by the next ad they see on the web promising Nirvana or the next recruiting call they receive from a recruiter offering a fantastic opportunity if only they accept this job offer.

These subtle influences often do more than an extra few thousand dollars to solve your staffing problems.



© 2007 all rights reserved.

More Useful Campus Recruiting | No BS Hiring Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Discusses a more effective way of doing campus recruiting.


This one's involved with college recruiting.
Most of you at this point have a pretty predictable routine with doing campus recruiting and, frankly, doesn't it stink. You stand there. Get some resumes. You talk to the kids, you bring them in later on. People interview them. You know the routine.
Have you considered before you have the day that it be a purposeful day? That you arrange for the University to do testing of the graduates or the potential employees as a way of determining whether or not they know anything?
Let's assume that they know very little but what are your expectations for what these kids know when they graduate? How could you test those people before you even shake their hands in order to determine whether or not they're qualified? Now, some of you will say, "well, no one will show up."
Well, that's a criteria that you can use for evaluating. If they're hungry enough to show up, aren't you more interested than if they don't give a darn. Of course, you' are.
A lot of the kids out there are being coddled and you don't want to hire babies. You can get them a year or two later after someone else's broken them in and focus on the ones that are prepared to drive hard and dive hard into challenges. That's who you really want. You don't want the ones who are really disguised infants. Those people may be very qualified but not on the personality side, not on the temperament side, not in terms of the effort that they're willing to expend side. You want to get them after they have that.
So, wait a year or two. Contact them later. You can find them on LinkedIn, right? But, at the end of the day, set up testing for these people. Find out what they really know. You may discover that that University that's been encouraging your firm to hire really doesn't do such a good job of teaching and you can start assessing different schools based upon what the outcome is from your test


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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