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Systems Alliance Blog

Opinion, advice and commentary on IT and business issues from SAI
Keyword: hr

No job imageOn a number of organizational design and CIO advisory projects, I’ve had the opportunity to help screen and evaluate candidates for jobs ranging from entry level support to IT Directors. When I am in the office, I am occasionally able to participate in screening candidates for open positions here at SAI. (Shameless plug: We are hiring.)

In the recruiting world, candidates are divided into two separate, yet equally important groups: the well-qualified and thoughtful who are ready to bring value to the team and. . .the others who leave interviewers confused and whose bizarre behavior always comes up at happy hour.

These are their stories as shared by members of our team:

  1. During a phone interview, one of our VPs was put on hold by a candidate so she could take a personal call. After a long pause, she came back on the line to continue the interview. There was no second phone screen.
  2. A candidate for a client showed up 20 minutes late, started banging on the glass door instead of using the courtesy phone, and followed it up by being rude to our office manager. This hat trick of bad decisions led to a very, very short interview.
  3. Following an interview that clearly went off the rails, a candidate invited our CEO and me out for drinks the next time we were in town. The offer was declined but we did check one bar out on yelp.
  4. While screening for a client, one candidate spent 10 minutes explaining how terrible all of his former employers were. If that red flag wasn’t enough for us, the liberal use of F-bombs throughout the call was.
  5. One of our VPs had a candidate fail to show up on time for an interview. After calling her and sending an email, she showed up out of the blue two hours later. No explanation was given and she still expected to be interviewed.
  6. We tend to “Google” candidates to get some info on them before they come in. One candidate, fairly junior, had a pretty open social media profile which included lots of drunken party photos and posts about getting high.
  7. When asked what his technical interests were, a candidate struggled to explain what he’d written on his application. He did however spend 10 minutes talking about how much he likes playing in a mariachi band. I am still unclear if this was an episode of Punk’d.

Got a horror story of your own? E-mail me at We’ve got enough material to make this a recurring blog post series but would love to get more gems!

It’s a sign of the times. Current economic and competitive pressures are forcing most IT organizations to do more with less. It’s no wonder then, when a manager gets approval to hire an additional person, they want to move quickly to fill the spot - and for the least cost. 

Unfortunately, if you select the wrong candidate, the cost incurred by the employer may far outweigh any benefit of having the new hire in the role. According to Mary Lorenz, the most recent CareerBuilder survey on the cost of a bad hire shows that “69 percent of employers reported bad hires lowered their company’s productivity, affected worker morale and even resulted in legal issues”[1]. Although it’s difficult to totally quantify the cost of a bad hire, ADP’s Bad Hire Calculator provides some perspective.  ADP estimates a $65,000 full-time hire that goes bad will cost an employer over $94,000.  If fully on-boarding a technical resource takes 6 months, the calculator estimates the bad hire cost growing to over $110,000![2]

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Jan 2016