The exhilaration of filling a key position quickly disappears when an organization or an individual realizes there is not a match. Then it is either aggressive steps to salvage the situation, or if bad enough, cut losses quickly. The results are significant to both parties.

I’ve been helping organizations recruit senior level talent for many years and try to stay current in various industries as to what is taking place with organizations, positions and people. I am aware of many, many successful hires

Unfortunately, too many do not succeed. Most of these failures are preventable. They are the result of a faulty hiring process.

A critical step was not taken. Time was not invested at the beginning to gain stakeholders’ buy-in of the essential requirements for success in the role. It is that simple. I’m not referring to a theoretical “what we want” approach, but a well thought out understanding and agreement of what is expected from the successful performance of the role.

Following that, identifying what knowledge, skills, experience, approach, motivations and brainpower are important to be able to accomplish this.

This produces a clear target that potential candidates can be evaluated against. As Yogi Berra is reported to have said, with my loose translation, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” Nowhere is this more important than recruiting. If you don’t identify expectations and success factors at the beginning, and use it in the selection process, even the broadest panel of candidates will not heighten success; it may increase the risk of failure.

Without tight selection criteria, the halo effect can result in selecting an individual because she is “liked,” only to quickly find there really is not a fit. My experience is that individuals who are hired in this manner often fail because the really important things were not considered. People will always hire people they like. Don’t let this override the importance of making certain they are qualified as well!

Organizations require talent to succeed. The fast pace of the global economy requires the ability to attract and retain individuals who can lead in a rapidly changing environment. That equates to more changes within organizations, and more hiring requirements. What are you doing to reduce the risk in your recruiting process?

We emphasize the importance of time spent understanding the dynamics of the organization and the expectations of the role in every recruiting project. This takes place before we begin to develop the strategy of how to identify and recruit appropriate candidates. It is the most valuable time in the entire process. Have you given this adequate attention in your organization?