Does Anyone Else Think that an 18-Month New-Hire Failure Rate of 46% is a Problem?

“What in the hell is going on in recruiting” is the subtitle of a blog post put out by Visier. The actual title is “6 Reasons Recruiting Doesn’t Measure New Hire Failure Rates (But Should)” and calls out a very disturbing statistic that has been floating around for about a decade.

Think about it…what if your software only worked with 50% of the clicks. What if your product was only delivered to your customers 50% of the time. Would that be acceptable? Then why do we accept almost a 50% failure rate with new hires?

When you look up employee retention rates and turnover statistics you’ll find all kinds of data from various sources. A 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report found the overall turnover rate is 57.3%. Another study found that ⅓ of new employees quit after about 6 months.

Whichever statistic you want to pick, they all tell a similar story…turnover in the early stages is way higher than it should be. The only statistic that matters is what turnover percentage your company has, percentage for 0 – 18 month new hires, and the cost of that turnover. Not tracking that data is a mistake.

We all know there could be a million reasons why turnover is high. But who is to blame for these high turnover numbers? Talent acquisition will many times say it’s the hiring managers. Hiring managers will turn around and say it’s talent acquisition. They are both right, and they are both wrong, because it’s not one or the other, but rather the combined dysfunction that leads to high turnover.

So what can we do about it? Identifying the specific requirements of each role, backed by data, is one major step in the right direction.

We hire within the confines of a legacy system where we don’t identify these very specific requirements. We “think” we do, but we don’t. Instead, 90% of the applicants that get passed to hiring managers are based on keyword matching, and that ultimately contributes to the turnover problem. Hiring managers are then forced to pick the best of the 3 candidates they interviewed, based on the 20 résumés they reviewed. Does that mean those were the 20 most qualified applicants to look at? Most certainly not.

In the same Visier blog post, it mentions that “a majority of managers believe that less than half of all candidates that they interviewed were qualified.” Does this data support the problem mentioned in the paragraph above? Absolutely.

If companies have a turnover problem, they should start by digging into the beginning of the process and understanding how candidates are selected for interviews.