Nightmare HR Hiring Stories

2017 report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) estimated that UK businesses are failing to hire the right person for two out of five roles despite the significant financial costs of making mistakes. The report shows:

  • 85% of HR decision-makers admit their organisation has made a bad hire.
  • 39% admit that the interviewing and assessment skills of their staff should be improved.
  • The cost of hiring a new employee is brought into sharp focus when you look at the numbers. A poor hire at mid-manager level with a salary of £42,000 can cost a business more than £132,000.

If you’re wondering what the £132,000 is made up from, the hidden costs involved include money wasted on:

  • Hiring (advertising, screening, interviewing by human resources and management).
  • Onboarding (training, management and oversight).
  • Lost productivity, engagement, opportunities and customers.
  • Hiring externally (an 18-20% increase over hiring internally).

“Shockingly, we discovered that employers are completely underestimating the financial impact of getting recruitment wrong, and not learning how to improve,” Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive.

Whether you’re on the lookout for high calibre and experienced senior management or for lower skilled staff in high turnover industries, it’s always a challenge to find the right candidate at the right time.

The process can backfire (in some cases spectacularly) for any number of reasons beyond obvious factors like identity theft fraud. Nonetheless it’s a minefield that HR Managers must wade through. An article from Active Absence reports on attendees at a CIPD event who list their nightmare hiring stories revealing these highlights –

  • A man bringing his entire family into the interview room for moral support.
  • A candidate who turned up to an interview on the 4th floor – but who was very scared of heights. He ended up crawling on the floor through the office.
  • Someone vomiting at the start of an interview.
  • A text sent to an employee telling them they are redundant.
  • Someone said they had a flying lesson but were snapchatting on a stag do.
  • A candidate’s skirt caught fire during an interview from sitting near a faulty heater.
  • Employee absence excuse: “My 3 alarm clocks didn’t go off.”
  • Asking a candidate why they didn’t turn up for an interview and getting the reply “I forgot what day of the week it was.”

Failures at multiple levels inside Dallas City Hall led to the hiring of a top information technology manager who faked his résumé, got the job and then stole and pawned $10,000+ worth of iPads from the city. His references included bogus declarations that he worked as a software engineer for NASA, was an education director at a Virginia college and had served as an Army officer with top secret clearance. Due diligence was clearly absent from background checks and validations.

Hiring mishaps don’t come much more public or hilarious than the classic case of mistaken identity at the BBC when Guy Goma turned up for a technician’s job interview. The receptionist mistook him for Guy Kewney who was to make a special guest appearance on the imminent live news broadcast. The wrong guy was wheeled in front of the cameras, with hilarious results.

This might be 10 years old, you may have seen it before, but it’s worth watching again –

There is a lot to learn from nightmare HR hiring stories. Most of it is common sense and due diligence.  Get tech to work in your favour to automate as much of the tedious documentation effort as possible to free up your time for the important stuff like checking their credentials, their references, and don’t take everything at face value. Do your homework.

At PlanetVerify we automate the collection and storage of personally identifiable information (PII). Onboarding new hires has never been easier. According to the feedback we’ve received from our clients, the time savings made possible by this automated approach versus legacy approaches can equate to one working day per week. Without automation, HR managers must spend valuable time chasing data and documents from applicants and when considering also interruptions to a day’s work, this can rack up an average cost in wages of €51.67 per applicant. Ultimately, the time you save through automation should help you avoid becoming the story in future articles like this. 

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