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Five big reasons why new hires fail

by Garry Connell

failure at a chess match

Mark Murphy – Chairman of Leadership IQ – tracked 20,000 new hires across 312 USA businesses. Within the first 18 months of starting 46% FAILED! (were fired or had unacceptable performance reviews). On the other hand, only 19% will achieve unequivocal success.


Clearly with the high costs of hiring, induction, training, poor morale and lost sales, the bottom line effect when nearly half of all your new recruits fail can literally run into millions.


However, what Murphy’s study found that was of even more concern was WHY new hires failed. The results included:

  1. Coachability (26%) – Ability to take feedback
  2. Emotional Intelligence (23%) – The ability to understand and manage ones own emotions and accurately assess others emotions
  3. Motivation (17%) – Sufficient drive to achieve ones full potential
  4. Temperament (15%) – Attitude and personality suited to the particular job & work environment
  5. Technical Competence (11%) – Functional or technical skills required to do the job.

In other words only 11% of new hire fails because of a lack of skills! The reason MOST people fail during their first 18 months within a new job is because of poor ATTITUDE.


Even more concerning is 82% of managers reported in hindsight they knew this would be the case. When they hired, their interviews focussed around technical skills not behavioural skills. Murphy asks how important is it to only employ those with 10/10 technical skills, if the employee isn’t open to improving, alienates their co-workers, lacks drive and has the wrong personality for the job?


So how do you find the right attitude for your role and company?


Find out the attitudes of your company’s best performers. Think about the people who are an absolute pleasure to be around and who makes your job more enjoyable and easier to do. Those that reach targets, receive promotions and are highly engaged. Find out what are the distinctive attitudinal characteristics that make them a joy to work with.


This usually includes:

  • They take ownership
  • They’re highly collaborative
  • They aren’t afraid to make mistakes
  • They meet commitments
  • They’re empathetic towards customer’s and colleague’s needs

Then when interviewing, focus more time and energy on candidates to assess:

  • Coachability
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Motivation
  • Temperament

In these tough times, if your organisation is going to excel, you need to hire (and retain) the right people.


Happy hiring for attitude




Resources: Hiring for Attitude - Mark Murphy