Published - March 2003

By Dave Jakielo

Relief from those Bad Hiring and Promotion Decisions

Have you ever hired a person who didn't work out? Or maybe you've rewarded a good employee with a juicy promotion, only to discover that he or she turned out to be a terrible boss.

Not to fret, you are not alone. We have all made those kinds of choices. Often owners and managers tell me of the horror stories that have occurred because they put the wrong person in the wrong position.

The most important assets of any company are its employees. Yes, they are even more important than clients. After all, good employees make it possible to have clients. Yet in making those crucial decisions about hiring and promotions, we often enter the Twilight Zone. Without hard data, we rely on intuition or a "gut feeling" to accomplish one of our most important company decisions.

Often when things don't work out, it's not because you have chosen a bad person. It is simply that he or she doesn't have the required skills or style to be successful in a particular position. Yet how can you tell in advance? The greatest failure rate seems to occur when a really good clerical employee gets promoted and then struggles with new management responsibilities.

It's no mystery why hiring and promotion decisions are difficult. They are crucial to our operations, and yet these skills are not normally taught during our many years of formal education. (I am sure glad I had to take calculus though, because I use that everyday.)

The cost of a bad personnel decision is extremely expensive. Consider what is involved:

  • Advertising the position
  • Sifting through and reviewing the resumes
  • Pre phone screening interviews
  • Face to face interviewing
  • Flipping a coin

    OK, the last bullet item is a joke, but I think this is how some hiring decisions are made. Conservatively, the above steps will cost you, at a minimum, over $1000. And that doesn't include the cost of training and retraining.

    Tools of the Trade
    Given the dire consequences of a bad hiring or promotion decision, how can you provide yourself with a little insurance? As employee salary and benefit costs continue to rise and profit margins continue to slip, it makes sense to invest a few dollars in pre-employment or pre-promotion assessments. Fortunately, these easy and affordable tools are readily available and can help you make the correct decision.

    For example, for less than $25.00 you can assess a new employee in four critical areas:
    1. Honesty
    2. Integrity
    3. Reliability and work ethic
    4. Substance Abuse

    For less than $60.00 dollars you can assess whether a person will make a good team leader, supervisor, manager, vice president, etc. This assessment measures behavioral tendencies in critical job-related competencies including: 1. Productivity 2. Quality of Work 3. Initiative 4. Team Work 5. Problem Solving 6. Motivational Tendencies 7. Response to Stress and Frustration

    With so much of your success hinging on your team, it's dangerous to leave your decisions to the "gut feelings" of the Twilight Zone. Remove some of the doubt and save yourself time and money.

    There are several assessment vehicles available. The one I have used for over two years and that I recommend to all my clients, is a Web-based solution called Profiles on the Web ( Currently 11 tools are offered, ranging from multi-purpose assessments to personality evaluations to specifics, such as measurements for suitability for call-center duty. Evaluations are administered on the Internet and reports are immediately available.

    With so much of the world in flux, you can at least take the guesswork out of the crucial personnel decisions that impact the success of your company.

    As always I wish you continued success.

    Dave Jakielo is so enthusiastic about Profiles on the Web that he has become a distributor of its products. If you would like additional information about, contact Jakielo at Seminars, Training and Consulting, 86 Hall Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15205-3214. Phone and Fax; 412-921-0976. Email Web page (which includes past articles):

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