Three Quarters of UK Employers Hire the Wrong People

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Previous experience on the trusty CV or resume is the most used - but least dependable - predictor of future performance, say UK experts, but advice is at hand.

As employers gear up for a period of sustained low growth, there will be even greater pressure on HR to get these recruitment decisions right, first time.

Three-quarters of UK employers hire the wrong people because they use an incorrect basis for recruitment. Hiring the wrong people costs organisations billions of pounds in wasted resources, according to The Chemistry Group.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) puts the cost of mis-hiring between four and six times the employee’s salary, while some surveys put this figure at as much as 14 times. Taking into account both the hard and soft costs, it’s a significant expense for employers, with estimates from the Future Foundation putting the overall UK cost of managing poor hires at over £12 billion.

Chemistry says these massive costs can be slashed and real value created for the organisation and its hires, simply by uncovering and measuring the most reliable predictors of future performance. Previous experience is the least dependable measurement.

According to Roger Philby, CEO and Founder of Chemistry, “Experience is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to predicting how well an employee will work within an organisation, yet it is used time and time again as a route for employers to choose their staff.

Predicting an individual’s future performance, according to Chemistry, is based on measuring 5 things.

“Employers who want to get recruitment right need to understand that measuring intellect, values, motivations and behaviours, and only then, experience, are the route to get to 86% accuracy in predicting a person’s future performance.”

Significantly, the 5 predictors of success – named Chemistry’s ‘5 Box Model’ – do not show a scale of importance, but the difficulty to change, of which experience is the easiest.

Employers generally don’t use existing, practical, hands-on mapping tools to full effect to ensure they hire the right people with the right skills and cultural fit for each function of the organisation, according to Chemistry.

“As employers gear up for a period of sustained low growth, there will be even greater pressure on HR to get these recruitment decisions right, first time,” says Philby.

To start achieving 86% hiring accuracy, Chemistry suggests employers:

  • Start by defining ‘what good looks like’ for their specific business or division.
  • Find out what their very best people do that makes them the very best.
  • Measure every applicant against this profile.
  • Remember that previous experience is not a good predictor of how a candidate will perform in a new organisation, because what works in one organisation will most likely not work in another.
  • Do not hire people based on their CVs, as this looks at the whole process upside down.
  • Ensure candidates have the right intellect, values, motivation, behaviour and experience - in that order.

Chemistry’s ‘Value Based Hiring’ Guide, which explains more about hiring on the true predictors of future performance, is available from

Notes to editors

British Psychological Society research & Chemistry data, which says that hiring in UK corporates is at best 25% accurate in finding the right person.

For further information contact:
Kay Phelps at PRinHR, on +44(0)7710 043244 or +44 (0)1932 789524, email kay(dot)phelps(at)PRinHR(dot)co(dot)uk

About Chemistry --

Chemistryʼs intent is to give everyone the opportunity to be brilliant at work. The people at Chemistry have unique insight and intellectual property to predict future performance of people at work. This knowledge is used to coach businesses on improving recruitment, processes, talent management and people development programmes.

Ultimately, Chemistry gets organisations to take the issue of people seriously and help them to learn how to act on that. It delivers practical, innovative people change across the world for an ever-expanding list of high profile clients.

  • New product sales increased by 250% - Lexis Nexis
  • Built a turnaround team that created £750m value - Energis
  • Attrition rates reduced by 85% in 9 months - Yes Telecom (now Vodafone)
  • Hiring accuracy improved by 300% - Cable and Wireless


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