Improving Quality of Hire and Retention Rates In A Volatile Economy

The shortage of Canadian talent is at a record high, and the risk of making a bad hire has increased along with it.  On average, employers take 10 weeks to terminate a bad hire and an additional 6 weeks to restaff the position. [i]  Who’s got 4 months and the extra money available to be doing that?

A bad hire is a costly mistake.

In 2019, 48% of companies reported that talent shortages were up from 41% in 2018 and more than double what it was in 2010 at 21%.[ii]  New research from employment agency Robert Half shows that among managers wanting to hire, 92% of those surveyed said that they’re facing challenges finding and attracting skilled talent.[iii] [iv]

A 2022 survey by the National Payroll Institute[v] found that the number of Canadians who considered themselves financially stressed has jumped by 20 per cent in the past year to 37 per cent overall.  Over 66 per cent of those who consider themselves “financially stressed” are living paycheque to paycheque and 50 per cent are feeling “overwhelmed” by their debt.  For some, that stress is impacting work performance, with 40 per cent saying it’s having a negative impact and, according to NPI, one in five admit that they need a sick day to cope with the rising levels of stress, and one in 10 have left their job because of it.  This, in turn, has decreased productivity.[vi]

All of these things contribute to an increased risk of a bad hire.

The Americans are facing similar problems.  A 2021 Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 senior managers In the U.S.[vii] found that 3 in 4 managers have made a bad hire, and that 64% say the negative impact is more severe now than a year ago (2020).  With the impending retirement of many senior employees looming, it’s more important than ever to make sure that only the right candidates get hired or promoted.

One of the best ways to help to ensure that is by using skills and aptitude assessments in the hiring and promotion process, and for all positions.  Even if your applicant pool is smaller than desired, screening candidates for the skills, attitudes, aptitudes, and overall fit with the organization or role increases your chances of success, and decreases the costs associated with a bad hire.

In addition to confirming people’s capabilities, they can also identify deficits and potential problems.  There are assessments that can tell you in advance if someone has long-term job commitment, is likely to steal, ignore safety regulations, use drugs or alcohol on the job*, or prone to absenteeism, or taking bogus sick days.

Regardless of the role or the kind of skill required for it, there’s a test for that!  Whether you need someone who’s competent with Microsoft Office or HTML, a high-producing sales representative, unflappable customer service personnel, a skilled marketing director, employees with competence in arithmetic or reading comprehension, or need to confirm that someone’s ready for a leadership role before you promote them, there’s a test for that!

Anyone can make a bad hiring decision, miss red flags or be conned by an applicant, but screening assessments reduce the likelihood of that immeasurably.  They’re not hard to use or to understand.  They’re readily available, easily accessible, and the range of assessments employers can choose from is immense.  Creative Organizational Design, for example, offers over 4000 different titles, and can help organizations find assessments for building better teams, to resolve conflict, improve communication, identify and measure corporate culture, develop struggling managers, or find the best call centre agents, millwrights, or assemblers.  If you need to hire an engineer, nurse, pastor/minister, bank teller, police officer, HR professional, or a nanny or a summer camp counsellor, guess what?  There’s a test for that!

Assessments aren’t as costly as some think and if a $25 dollar assessment saves you the thousands that you’ll invest in the replacement of a bad hire, then they’re cheap insurance too.  If your organization is struggling to find the right people or experiencing higher than desired turnover rates, testing your applicants may help to alleviate the problem.

Best of all, pre-screening tests are legal, reliable, and accurate.  They allow you to assess all candidates against the same criteria, confirm what you think you already know about them, and compare apples to oranges easily.  Even if you’re promoting from within, the same rules and positive outcomes apply.

If you’re struggling to find people with talent, work ethic, who are reliable, who take initiative, have solid skill sets, the right attitude, or are struggling with things like high turnover or dysfunctional leadership, then using professional skills and aptitude assessments will help you address and reduce these problems.

There is a cornucopia of solutions available, and we’re ready to help you find the right and best fit for your specific needs.

If you’re one of the 92% of managers who said that they’re facing challenges finding and attracting skilled talent, then call Creative Organizational Design and let us help.


*Assessments that screen for alcohol and substance abuse cannot be used in Canada.

David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering over 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 4000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us.  Please send comments about this article to


[i] The Higher Cost of a Bad Hire –

[ii] The economic impact of payroll professionals in Canada –

[iii] The economic impact of payroll professionals in Canada –

[iv] More Than Half of Canadian Companies Anticipate Increased Hiring in the First Half of 2023 Amid Economic Uncertainty –

[v] The economic impact of payroll professionals in Canada –

[vi] Canadians are facing a ‘financial storm,’ and experts say it’s time to plan ahead –

[vii] The Higher Cost of a Bad Hire –


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