Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Making a Job Last

  • Provide high quality work. 
  • Good team player.
  • Positive attitude.
  • Show up.

Avoiding Being a Bad Hire: Making a New Job Last

Want the definition of a worst case scenario? It takes you almost ten months to get a job (that's still the average time to getting employed today) and then only a few months into the new gig they show you the door. Ouch. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. In fact 69% of companies acknowledge they made a bad hire just last year, according to a study by Which reminds me of Helen Sprongthorpe. She was the newly hired bell-ringer at St. Nicholas Church in Bathampton, England. She was discovered unconscious and entangled in the ropes attached to the bells. Battered and bruised she was eventually rescued and lowered twenty feet to the ground.

We've all been battered and bruised by work, but Ms. Sprongthorpe's experience raises it to a new level. But if you want to avoid her fate, you'll have to learn the mistakes that are most often made by new hires. I've got four strategies below, based on a survey of hiring managers.

Provide high quality work. 67% of hiring mangers characterized the key failing of a bad hire was providing poor quality work. Duh! That's why it's so important to get on the same wavelength as your boss and company and produce work to their standards. Find out who are the top performers and study them. Heck, even offer to buy them a cup of coffee or lunch so you can pick their brain.

Good team player. Coworker support is a key, and often overlooked variable, at work. 60% of hiring managers said that not fitting in was the second most common reason that an employee did not work out. The last thing most people want is a lot of stress and tension from people not getting along, heck we get enough of that at home. So people who can fit in, get along and collaborate successfully are valued commodities. One key strategy is to do random acts of kindness for the people you work with by volunteering to help with projects, providing key information to coworkers or taking the time to acknowledge great work by a colleague.

Positive attitude. 59% of managers just can't handle negative attitudes at work. I actually think that could even be on the low side. The times in my career that time just crawled until quitting time are mostly associated with energy draining coworkers. I'm not saying that everyone should pretend to be Pollyanna, but we all want to avoid being one of those negative people that everyone goes out of their way to avoid.

Show up. Woody Allen once said that 95% of life is just showing up. At work the number is slightly lower than that, 54%. That's the percentage of managers who said that a bad hire was always late or absent from work. Imagine that, just showing up will score points for you with the boss.

Start off your job right and you won't have to worry about getting your bell wrung at work.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs."


Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week


    Impact of a Bad Hire:

    • Lost productivity, 39%
    • Lost time to recruit and train another worker, 39%
    • Cost to recruit and train another worker, 35%
    • Employee morale negatively affected, 33%
    • Negative impact on clients, 19%


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