Meta Report: Nine Deadly Sins Of Hiring

By Jonathan Poe

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META Trend: During 2002/03, as business organizations focus on strategic partnerships and customer needs, IT organizations will (re)evaluate ROI strategies. As IT/business collaboration matures, organizations will incorporate more balanced performance investment approaches. By 2004/05, scenario planning will form the basis of balanced value/innovation programs that manage dynamic technology investments and enable organizational agility. By 2006/07, 25% of Global 2000 firms will dynamically assemble, restructure, and dissolve virtual teams on demand.

Hiring is a nerve-racking task. Increasing globalization, business pace, and technology complexity intensify the demand for more talented individuals and executives. Several recent academic studies show that 40% of all business hires end in firing or resignation within 15 months. Several business studies also point to a diminishing pool of executive talent. At the same time, the nature of IT work is in flux and decreases the efficacy of traditional human resources (HR) activities.

By 2004, >75% of world-class firms will have systemic and modular IT hiring processes. Detailed approaches will define the roles, responsibilities, processes, criteria, and tools to perform top-notch hiring independent of geography, job sophistication, and interviewers. These world-class firms have applied team interviewing, reference checking, and psychological profiling to obtain best-fit candidates for corporate openings.


Following the lessons learned from these companies, by 2007, >50% of Global 2000 firms will institute formal and standardized HR IT hiring processes. In learning the differences between good and bad candidates, many corporations will adopt portions of a systemic hiring process, but politics, poor (knowledge) management, lack of discipline, and feeble execution will prevent them from achieving enterprisewide success.

With a greater emphasis on people, CIOs develop human capital management centers of excellence (HCM COEs - see ED Delta 245, 2 Apr 2002). Based on lessons learned from temporary employment agencies, executive recruiters, outsourcers, and first-class IT organizations, holistic hiring processes should, at a minimum, contain the following five activities:

As these five procedures become part of a well-documented process baseline, IT organizations should perceive recruiting as becoming a more regular, repeatable, and evolving core competency of an HCM COE. Although a developed hiring process manages out ambiguity and risk, CIOs should also take great care to avoid the following nine deadly sins of hiring:

In the pursuit of speed, rapidly growing firms easily succumb to these nine deadly sins of hiring. Recruiting well requires a systematic approach, discipline, and plenty of preparation. CIOs should not shortchange the hiring of talent by succumbing to the pressures of time, convention, and politics. Purposeful strategies, plans, processes, and reviews should be raised, realized, and refined. With such discipline and courage, recruiting becomes a core competency of an IT HCM COE.

Business Impact: Hiring the right person for the right job increases corporate productivity and avoids having to deal with non-performers down the road.

Bottom Line: Recruiting is an essential part of IT HR excellence. By focusing on five critical procedures and avoiding the nine deadly sins of hiring, CIOs can rapidly evolve the recruiting of talent into an IT core competency.

META Group of Stamford, Conn., is a leading research and consulting firm, focusing on information technology and business transformation strategies. For more information, visit MetaGroup.com.