Why Your Last Hire Failed

CFOs Cite 'Mismatched Skill Set' as Leading Cause

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 28, 2016 -- Recent research from Robert Half Finance & Accounting reflects a continuing trend: Aside from poor performance, failed hires are a result of a mismatched skill set. Nearly four in 10 CFOs interviewed (38 percent) responded this way, up two percentage points from a similar survey conducted five years ago. Another 27 percent of financial executives think unclear performance expectations is the top reason new employees don't work out.  

Robert Half

While executives at firms of all sizes cite a mismatched skill set as the leading contributor to hiring failures, CFOs at the smallest companies (20-49 employees) are more likely than their peers at the largest organizations (1,000 or more employees) to fault unclear performance expectations and personality conflicts.

CFOs were asked, "Aside from poor performance, which one of the following factors is most likely to lead to a failed hire?" Following are their responses by company size*:

Number of Employees

Total

20-49

50-99

100-249

250-499

500-999

1,000+

Mismatched skill set

38%

39%

39%

32%

37%

40%

45%

Unclear performance expectations

27%

26%

26%

32%

26%

36%

21%

Personality conflicts

20%

21%

20%

20%

22%

19%

13%

Failure to fit into corporate culture

15%

15%

14%

15%

15%

5%

21%

 

100%

101%

99%

99%

100%

100%

100%

*Some responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

 

View an infographic of the survey findings.

"Hiring is hard enough, but it's even harder when you have to do it twice," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "Don't impede your efforts by recycling old job descriptions. Develop a fresh overview for each opening, listing the skills required for candidates to be successful now and in the future."

McDonald also advises companies to sell the sizzle when recruiting. "Promote why your business is a great place to work, emphasizing the organization's mission, culture and career growth opportunities," he said. "This, combined with a compelling, relevant job description, will help attract top performers who fit the firm's needs."

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers four tips to avoid making a bad hire:

  1. Identify the must-haves. Make a list of essential skills and those that can be learned through training. While technical expertise can help people land the job, it's their soft skills that ensure they're a fit for the company and can take on greater responsibilities.
  2. Don't shortcut the reference check. Talk to candidates' former managers to get a better sense of whether employees might do well at your firm. Ask about individuals' work styles, strengths and areas for improvement.
  3. Get outside help. By tapping the extensive networks of a specialized recruiting firm, you gain access to a larger talent pool. A recruiter can help evaluate each job seeker based on the required skills and performance expectations and accelerate the hiring process.
  4. Act immediately. If you find a great applicant, move quickly and offer attractive compensation. Separate Robert Half research shows promising candidates lose interest when companies delay making a decision. Don't prolong the process.

About the Research
The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half Finance & Accounting                                                                    
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has more than 325 locations worldwide. For more information, visit roberthalf.com/finance. For finance and accounting career and management advice, visit our blog at roberthalf.com/finance/blog.

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For further information: Lisa Amstutz, (650) 234-6246, lisa.amstutz@roberthalf.com


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