Only You Can Prevent Dumpster Hires

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
Monday, April 11, 2022
Only You Can Prevent Dumpster Hires

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A recent statistic bandied around on social media stated that during The Great Resignation, 86% of workers quitting their jobs cited burnout as the primary reason.

The previous common knowledge was that 73% of people quit their jobs because of bad bosses.

Could bad bosses be causing employee burnout?

The Great Resignation

The cause of The Great Resignation will depend on who you ask. Bad bosses insist workers are lazy, have an outsized sense of entitlement, or have no work ethic. The latter excuse is most commonly attributed to millennials and younger workers in general.

Conversely, good bosses have lower turnover than their competition, and really great bosses are actually sought out by top candidates as THE PLACE to work. This problem of people quitting because of burnout or poor work ethic or entitlement is foreign to great business leaders, something they only read about.

A good boss says, "How can we empower you in your role?" while a bad boss says, "You're quitting? The problem isn't me, it's you."

This dumpster fire of a labor situation comes down to factors of supply and demand, but not in the way you might thing.

Labor Truths, Fiction, and In Between

Statistics paint a misleading picture. According to current labor and hiring stats, unemployment is at a record low (which is true) and some locations actually have more job openings than available workers (which is also true).

Furthermore, trends and stats indicate more people are quitting their jobs at record numbers, which on the surface makes it sound like those workers have simply stopped working.

That's not the case, though. It's like a lake with a dozen fishing boats, but only one or two are catching fish while the rest are catching none.

The lake has plenty of fish, but technique and the quality of bait makes the difference.

Like the fish, we cannot blame the workers themselves when a company finds itself in an acute labor shortage. If the applicants aren't applying, or people keep leaving a few months, weeks, or even days after the hire, look within. Those applicants are working, just not for you — they're going to your competition.

What makes an applicant apply at your company, or say "Hard pass!" and pursue a position at your competition?

Turning Off Candidates

There are many possible reasons why workers pursue employment at one organization but not another. The first place to look at is your job listing or advertisement. Are you posting a below-market wage or salary? Or no pay information at all? These two mistakes are the low-hanging fruit in today's recruiting field. If you're paying less than the competition, you'll have to come up with a very compelling and obvious reason why a candidate would overlook that and want to consider you further.

Are you getting some candidates but they all fit into a particular group? Do people of color ignore your listing? Do you only get applicants of a certain gender or socio-economic class? Your job listings may be bias-heavy without you even realizing it. If you know your listings are deliberately turning off certain candidates based on protected classes, the source of your labor issues is upstream from your job listings.

There are many ways that job listings can unintentionally exclude or demotivate candidates. Writing effective job listings is a skill set that many hiring managers lack, even amongst Human Resources professionals. Getting outside expert guidance can make all the difference. There are even websites that can analyze your job listing and give you some initial clues about embedded bias. Use them as a first step even if you do nothing else.

Reduce Turnover As a Hiring Strategy

Look at your turnover history. Has there been a statistically significant number of workers leaving a particular location or department? If so, look at who's running that show. If bad bosses are the top reason people quit (it is), than look at your team leaders when people quit. It really may be that simple.

If there is no particular grouping of departing workers under a certain supervisor or at a particular location, then look at overall company policies and culture. This requires brutal honesty within the leadership team. It requires a willingness to examine internal attitudes, behavior and communication. Get an outside perspective. Seek honest feedback and never spank your team members when they provide it. Otherwise you'll never get honest feedback again.

Seek honest feedback and never spank your team members when they provide it.

Working Backward

If you take an honest and thorough look at your turnover problem and take tangible and genuine steps to remedy it, you will likely see not only a noticeable improvement in your turnover, but an improvement in your recruitment efforts, too.

If you make your company a place where people want to stay, you will make it a company where people want to start.

This will take some brutal honesty and reflection within your organization. Identify the root cause of your turnover regardless of how much the truth may hurt. You will never heal your broken bone if you keep insisting the pain is just a sliver in your thumb.

One way to change your mindset is to think of your employees similarly to how you view your customers. Treat them with the same care and nurturing, not only for today but for the long term, and you will see remarkable benefits. It is a maxim within the Customer Experience field that happy employees create happy customers. Adopt the mindset that they both need equal attention.

The reverse of that maxim is equally true. Poorly treated employees, those who are disengaged and itching for the opportunity to leave, will reflect in a very tangible and negative way on your customer's experience. This will degrade sales, customer loyalty, and increase costs in customer service expenses.

Above all, remember that your employees are people — as is every potential job candidate out there looking at your job listing. The instant you think of them as resources (to be purchased, consumed, discarded, and replaced) is when your competition laughs about it all the way to the bank.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

Employees hired with a CVI that closely matches a Top Performer Profile often outperform candidates hired without a TPP match by 200% or more. → Learn more

Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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