The most expensive employee you can hire

Blog: Expensive employee – how to avoid them

expensive employee - How to use an assessment matrix

What is the most expensive employee you can hire?

It is a Category 3 employee. The trick is to spot them and eliminate them during the recruitment process.  My best advice is to use an Assessment Matrix. But, first of all, what is an expensive employee?

Risk and why someone is an expensive employee

Recruitment is all about minimising the risk of hiring the wrong person.

Essentially, there are four types of candidates:

  1. The unsuitables: easy to eliminate in the recruitment process, an entry level junior can do this for you.
  2. The maybes: they may have the right personality, but lacks in experience. You could train them up but there is a higher risk associated with taking them on board.
  3. The look good: resume and experience is of interest. Interview – fantastic. Testing and reference checks – fantastic.  We hire them – and we wish we had not…
  4. Then there’s the one: looks great and is brilliant in the job. They excel and they stay.

The difficulty in recruiting is separating a category 3 from a category 4 – because they both perform superbly in the interviews. They look like High Achievers.

Category 3’s are the expensive employees.

Their performance is not disastrous – but continuously unsatisfactory. The performance is regularly below par – but it is not bad enough to warrant a termination. They, therefore, have a high opportunity cost. It is ongoing because they keep with the organisation for years. They are truly expensive employees because they continue to underperform.

How can we avoid hiring expensive category 3 employees?

Next time you recruit, my advice is to use an Assessment Matrix. The Assessment Matrix is the “recruitment blueprint”. It is simple to set up.

Most expensive employee you can hire - Assessment Matrix

All the selection criteria is listed down the left side, with the stages of the recruitment process written across the columns. Selection criteria is what should be used to assess the candidates’ suitability for your role.

Each candidate should address the selection criteria at least once during the process; however, we should have multiple and independent sets of verification – also known as double and triple checking. For example, if we get three independent observations (initial phone screening, interview and reference checking); which all lead to the same conclusion, then we have minimised our risk.

If a candidate has two positive observations and one negative, this doesn’t mean the candidate is unsuitable, however, the risk is higher for that selection criteria. The philosophy is to minimise the risk for all the selection criteria through individual observations.

If you are using a recruitment agency this is the least you should expect them to do for you. Ask the consultant to show you their process and the Assessment Matrix. If they can’t show it to you, you have the right to wonder if you are getting value for money?

Download an Assessment Matrix template for your personal use:

See also: Why cover letters suck

11 Recruitment - Christian Madsen - Behaviour

Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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  • Frank Kennedy says:

    Great article Christian. Spot on with the candidate types and a very good solution provided to find the ideal employee.

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