75% Have Hired the Wrong Person

 I’ll never forget Jack Welch saying you have about a 50/50 chance of hiring the right person.

Surveys confirm that the majority of organizations have hired the wrong person.*

The wrong hire:

  1. Drains resources.
  2. Lowers productivity.
  3. Demotivates current employees.
  4. Distracts management.

5 steps to hire the right leader:

#1. Ask potential new leaders to make a list of the top 12 leadership qualities, behaviors, and practices.

#2. Ask candidates to use behavioral examples to define the items on their list.

#3. Ask candidates to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 for each item on their list. (1 being low. 10 being perfect.)

Be sure to have 10 represent perfect attainment. Reject candidates who give themselves a 10 on any item.

Don’t hire anyone who doesn’t need to develop.

#4. Hand candidates a prepared list of the top 12 leadership qualities, behaviors, and practices for your organization. Create your list based on the most successful leaders in your culture. Here’s an example of a list you might create:

  1. Candor.
  2. Transparency.
  3. Curiosity.
  4. Challenging the status quo.
  5. Affirming.
  6. Grit.
  7. Authenticity.
  8. Humility.
  9. Decisiveness.
  10. Optimism.
  11. Vulnerability.
  12. Outward focus.

#5. Dig deeper.

  1. Ask them to use behavioral examples to describe the items on your list.
  2. Ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 using your list.
  3. Discuss the lists:
    • What do you notice when you compare the two lists? Their list doesn’t need to match yours. The exercise is a conversation starter.
    • What leadership qualities, behaviors, or practices do you most need to develop? Use their own ranking system.
    • If you were to develop your leadership, what would you do next?

Open to learning has more promise than contentment with progress.


There’s more to hiring the right leader. For example:

  1. Background checks.
  2. Reference checking.
  3. Team interviews.
  4. Shared meals.
  5. Creative interview question.

How might organizations hire the right leaders and managers?

What’s an important component to your hiring practices?

*75% have hired the wrong person based on Careerbuilder Survey.