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Bad Hiring Decisions Can Be Costly
Non Negotiable Hiring TraitsMaking a bad hiring decision can be very costly. A recent survey by Career Builder reported more than two-thirds of employers were affected by a bad hire last year. Of nearly 2,700 employers surveyed, 41% estimate a single bad hire cost $25,000; a quarter estimate a bad choice cost $50,000 or more — not to mention the demoralizing effect on other employees and on the new hire.

Identifying A Strong Cultural Fit
In a recent Harvard Business Review blog post by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott of Fishbowl Inventory Software they noted that they had reduced “bad hiring decisions” dramatically by screening candidates using a list of personal characteristics they call the Non-Negotiables. These personal characteristics have become the primary criteria for hiring decisions — things they value even more than skills and background. The seven Non-Negotiables are Respect, Belief, Loyalty, Commitment, Trust, Courage and Gratitude.

Asking candidates to explain situations in their lives that reflect these characteristics, allows those involved in the interview process to make hiring decisions on how well the individual matches a company’s culture. Fishbowl also asks the same questions of the individual’s references — not the references they list on their resume, but of their former co-workers and supervisors that they identify.

According to Williams and Scott this has led to some unusual hires with less developed skill sets, but a stronger overall fit. They note that the hires that typically have the longest tenures are the ones that match culturally, rather than always being the most technically qualified.

So what are your Non-Negotiables?
Identifying and screening for Non-Negotiable traits that represent your culture will lead to higher job retention rates. If not the qualities identified by Williams and Scott, how about characteristics where candidates talk about how they handled change, a stressful work situation, or where they presented new ideas? Determining if someone is willing to take chances, push back on the status quo, and contribute to building a better business can identify future leaders.

One Cautionary Note
Selecting new employees based on specific value characteristics works only if those values are truly reflected in the culture of your organization. If there is a disconnect between the values that are stated and those exhibited, all the work put into the selection process will be for naught.


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