514 - A Cautionary Tale for Hiring Managers

Episode: 514

Episode Title: A Cautionary Tale for Hiring Managers

Thinking about hiring someone with great technical skills but less than great people skills? Here’s a cautionary tale about that, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 514 show:

This is The Perna Syndicate—thanks for tuning in today! When it comes to highly specialized skills, it might be tempting for some employers to overlook red flags about a candidate’s behavior in previous roles. But we’ve got to consider the potential cultural damage that could result from hiring someone like that.


Let me tell you a cautionary tale that Scott Nostaja of Segal shared with me. One of his clients hired a C-level executive with more than 20 years of experience. She checked all the traditional boxes, as she had great experience and technical knowledge. But, just three months into the job, she had developed a reputation as a bully, which caused six of her direct reports to look for a new job somewhere else. 


The company then tried to coach her—but the executive refused to change her behavior. It was a tough decision, but they had to let her go less than six months after they had hired her.


Nostaja says the decision had nothing to do with the results she was producing, and everything to do with how she made her direct reports feel. Yikes. 


This story is a perfect illustration of what happens if you hire for hard skills only. One bad hiring decision led to the loss of six employees, plus the bad hire. Employers need to rethink what they’re looking for in candidates and start prioritizing behaviors as much as skills. 


At my own company, I’ve always been careful to hire the person, not just the skills—and so far it’s been a huge success. On the next episode of The Perna Syndicate, I’ll share some of my secrets for hiring the right people the first time. Take care and we’ll see you then!

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