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  • Writer's picturePatrick Littorin

That´s why recruitments fail so often!

Many companies complain about how difficult it is with recruitment. At the same time, research shows that almost half of all recruitments fail for one reason or another. Despite that, companies continue to say as a mantra that "the staff is our most important resource".

But how come you fail so often? One reason is that you are in too much of a hurry. Another reason is that the companies have not made a detailed requirements profile, you don't know what qualities you are really looking for in a new employee. Too often it instead becomes a casual wish list without defining which competencies or behaviors are crucial for success and which are not important at all for the role in question.

At least in traditional job advertisements, for example, "good cooperation skills" are usually the most important qualities sought. But what does that really mean? It easily becomes a platitude. After all, most people cooperate well with those they get along well with. But it is not a general personal characteristic. Furthermore, it is not even certain that "good teamwork" is important for success in the role, although it is a nice quality.

For a long time, companies have recruited in the same way: first an analysis of what the job entails, as well as what qualities will be required for the candidate to fit into the organization. The company then advertises for candidates and ranks them according to the requirements profile that has been designed. Often some form of personality or IQ test is also used, plus interviews and reference taking.

Today is very different. Most of today's candidates are not actively looking for a job. That's why about 40% of American companies hire some recruiting firm. These in turn mainly use LinkedIn or other social media to find potential candidates. All applications then come electronically (verified grade copies on paper are no longer available, most people probably don't even know what it is). Next, the consultants' search tool scans for keywords that match wording in the requirements profile that the customer wants to see.

But only 1/3 of US companies evaluate whether this process also leads to good employees. They neither check whether the recruitment process was good or whether it can be improved. When researchers ask why, the answer is often that “it's so hard” to assess employee performance. Here are therefore tips on some general success factors you can use to make a simple evaluation:

  • Employment period. How long the employee stays at the company. At least at manager level, it usually takes at least two years to get into the role and deliver based on their position and mission. There are, for example, some managers who regularly manage to change jobs and thus create the illusion of being a successful manager, without performing.

  • Do the immediate managers regret it? Nowadays, most companies prefer to recruit external candidates. Maybe it's because you think they're better than the internal ones, which you've known for a long time. The dream that "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" is alive. But there is no evidence for that, especially when companies do not investigate whether the external candidates are really better than the internal ones.


  • Another way is to carry out surveys. Together with management and HR, we then evaluate existing staff based on the criteria we consider most important. An example could be the group management that had problems with the profitability of a subsidiary. Why? Through statistical analysis, we were able to establish that the local offices recruited the wrong employees; the office managers hired the ones they liked. But it wasn't the most profitable. Another example is an international consulting organization that was concerned that the best consultants chose to quit after 2-3 years. Why? Our statistical analysis showed no major differences in terms of personality or talent. But there was one question that definitely distinguished "the best" from those who were judged not to be as good: "I have opportunities to develop in my work". The best therefore enjoyed both the job and their managers, BUT there were no development opportunities for the ambitious. This single issue alone then led the group management to carry out a major reorganization and create alternative career paths for the best consultants. Look at that; further examples of how well psychometric tests can be used to help businesses!


Psykometrika AB. 2022. Scientific documentation.

Bartleby. Staff and nonsense. The Economist, May 11th, 2019.

Capelli, P., Your Approach to hiring is all Wrong. Harvard Business Review, May-June 2019.

Tollgerdt-Andersson, I.Ledarskapsteorier, företagsklimat och bedömningsmetoder. Stockholm School of Economics, januari 1989.

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