word of mouthLast time we discussed ways of managing performance and the critical element of recruitment and job matching to maximize performance. However, when the majority of hiring is done through word-of-mouth, a biased assessment of ability based on an emotional connection will inevitably put a manager between a rock and a hard place.

When an open position is brewing, managers/owners begin their hunt well before the job is on the open market. They first tell their friends and associates that they will soon have a need for an employee. Then, the information is shared with employees who then tell their friends and family of the opening. Many times, through this process of word-of-mouth a person in need of a job is found and selected without opening the job to the public.

The problem that arises with this method is that the job is then melded to meet the needs of the person rather than utilizing the selection process to screen for a person that best fits the job. The person is rarely the perfect fit for the job and will not work out or stay with the company. In addition, when the need for separation arises, the process is further complicated by the relational ties that originally brought the person to the company.

Significant performance gaps and turnover are expensive to remedy. Finding a permanent placement requires a thorough assessment of skill, ability, and cultural acceptance, which is compromised when an emotional tie drives the decision.