Expert Insights with Cynthia Cauthern, Ph.D.

As a hiring manager, have you said? “I thought s/he was a great hire, but it did not work out”. Or as an employee, have you found yourself thinking: “Wow, I thought this would be a great place to work; but I hate it here”. There may be consolation knowing you are not alone. The Harvard Business Review cites “80% of employee turnover is the result of bad hiring decision.” What went wrong? I’ll explain the Secret Sauce, the attributes required to ensure you hire the perfect candidate and for the candidate, ensure you have the perfect job.

The secret sauce is having a cultural fit! You have a new hire that is technically competent, demonstrates business acumen. But, six months later; you fire them because they did not fit in thus absorbing the replacing cost, which averages 150% of a person’s salary and benefits (both direct and indirect expenses). What happened? Most companies do not accurately define and/or articulate their corporate culture up front. Here are a few examples:

Foosball Fridays or Monthly Cookouts: These are interpersonal benefits, not a cultural attribute!

Entrepreneurial Spirits: Do you want a risk taker, someone who blazes new trails, thinks outside the box, positively crosses organizational boundaries, and challenges current processes or interpersonal protocols? If so, give examples of employees who took those risks and are successful today. State why the company embraces risk-taking?

Collaboration: Create open spaces with comfortable seating where teams can gather and work. Employees separated by cubicle walls discourage collaboration.

Decision Making: Do you communicate your decision-making process? Is it autocratic, collaborative or by consensus? Do you encourage and evaluate suggestions and give feedback to the employee or team?

Once you have adequately defined and can accurately articulate your cultural propositions develop questions or scenarios to assess if the candidate is a good fit.


Cynthia R. Cauthern, Ph.D., President and founder of Transcendence UAS, a recruiting company specializing in providing IT professionals and executives to the commercial UAV industry. She has over 15 years of success in: information technology technical sales, recruiting highly specialized technical talent and executive search. Dr. Cauthern’s background includes serving in senior sales leadership roles at several start-ups, national and international companies. Dr. Cauthern delivered a presentation at the 2017 DroneFocus conference in June and will give a workshop about the Secret Sauce to Finding the Perfect UAS Candidate at Midwest DroneFest Conference in September, 2017.

“Expert Insight” is the independent views and opinions of the submitting named author of this article.

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