How “hiring placeism” is costing your company the best recruits

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How often does it happen that a vital role is found vacant in your organization or company and you go about all the actions to fill it, and six months later it’s still not filled? You have done countless interviews, submitted dozens of candidates. And looking back you discover two or three that were just perfect but they weren’t hired because they lived in a different city or state? Or perhaps just didn’t go to the right college? You or your company may be suffering from “hiring placism”.  

“Hiring placism” is quickly becoming classified up there in evilness with racism and gender bias as an equally destructive mindset.  Even the definition of “placism” considers the inherent bias. Generally speaking, “placism” refers to the idea that certain types of individuals are simply better because of where they live, where they got their higher education or from whence they came, growing up.

So you find the perfect candidate and they didn’t get hired because they lived in a different state? Or because they didn’t go to the right college?

Let’s really look at this. You have this vital, important and totally necessary job that needs to be filled. Your company is losing potential income by the boatloads monthly. The job description looks something like,

“Needs to have 15 years experience in (any esoteric skill) and executive sales experience working in (such and such industry) for at least five of those years, including degrees from MIT, Stanford and Princeton (preferably Harvard Law as well). Is highly motivated and has a past success history of turning a company like (Blackberry) and making them into (Apple, Inc.)”.

Right. We all have these position with requirements like this. But okay, in six months you have reviewed thousands of resumes. And had countless one on ones with your boss begging, no pleading, for more lenient qualifications. But at the end, you still have no one, and it’s been six months. Now you are endlessly being hounded because that vacant hole is costing the company millions of dollars per year!

What’s worse is that you found two candidates who had all the skills, experience and history – including the damn Harvard Law degree but then your boss refused to pay for relocation (or they didn’t go to MIT) and the other company who paid the measly $10,000 grand, got them. Your company suffers from “Hiring Placism”. 

Fortune has a great article about placism, in it the author goes into some detail about it. However, let’s look deeper and see the actual cost of not hiring the right candidate and what it means to your company.  

The rule of thumb in hiring tends to be that the more specific and precise the job requirements are for a particular job, the more rare the candidate is and, like diamonds, are more valuable. Not only can value (and salary) be determined by how rare specific skill sets are but can be gauged on what other companies are willing to pay for the same position and the candidate to fill it.

Let’s take a position that isn’t as ridiculous as the above example, but is a mid-manager to executive level position. The position requires a specific tech background, sales and executive experience minimum. A common requirement for hiring managers to fill. Now consider there may be 500 potential individuals in the United States with that background. Consider perhaps that about 3% are either jobless or willing to consider a relocation. That is 15 individuals. Now consider you have to be able to find them and talk to them. Let’s say you can reach half of them. That is about 8 of them.

Now let’s assume that three of them are actual viable candidates. Right fit.  Perfect skill set. Loves your company and mission. Otherwise highly motivated. But they all live in a different state. Two of them have a wife or spouse that won’t relocate.  Which leaves one potential candidate. And your boss refuses to pay to relocate them? Or your boss thinks they won’t be the right fit because they grew up in Indiana? Or worse that they went not to MIT but to the Minneapolis Institute of Technology, and so obviously are not the right fit. So you lose them. And the search continues.

Now, let’s look at what this is costing your company:

If the person has proven with their experience and qualifications that they can do the job. And otherwise fits the bill in their ability to contribute the functions of the position, then any reason not hiring them is probably not a valid reason to overlook them (unless there is a better candidate, of course).

If where they live is the problem, and it often is, let’s suppose it takes $10,000 to move someone from any state to your state.

Now let’s say that position, filled, generates $100,000 in monthly net income. How much is your company losing by not at least trying to hire the guy or gal?  Are you starting to see the picture?  

So, next time your boss refuses to pay relocation fees for the right candidate, paint them the right picture and start curing “hiring placism” within your company.

At High End Hiring, we carefully review a job we are hired to fill, and from the onset ascertain with our clients whether they suffer from “hiring placism”. If they do, we cure it. It’s always better to hire the right candidate for the job than to leave the position vacant or worse to hire someone only because of where they went to do their studies.

Allen Harris