According to Leadership IQ’s Global Talent Management Survey, 81% of new hires will fail in their new positions, with ineffective interview tactics often to blame, say many of the 5,000 hiring managers surveyed over a three-year period. 

In an effort to improve this new hire success rate, some staffing business owners have added another phase in the hiring process: a trial, or tryout.

Jason Carney, human resources director for Indianapolis-based staffing company WorkSmart Systems, tells NFIB in this post that trial-based hiring could be a good model for many small businesses. 

“Taking this extra precaution can save small organizations time and money, and ultimately find the perfect fit to fill the void.”

The chance to hire employees on a contingent-approval basis can be especially valuable for companies where a single new addition to a 10, 15, or 20-person staff “can really make or break the culture and flow of business structure,” Carney adds.

Smaller Downside 

Scott Shearin is CEO and president of Cincinnati-based staffing company Veteran Talent Advisors, a veteran-focused staffing and recruiting organization helping to match qualified veterans with civilian employers around the world.

He tells NFIB one added benefit of a trial is that if you indeed go on to find the employee is not a good fit, separation costs are minimal in comparison to a typical "permanent" hire.

In Shearin's experience so far, he feels trial hires make the most sense for skilled labor and managerial jobs.

"That’s especially true if you’re recruiting someone and looking for certain skills. They may interview well and have charisma—but then you realize that they can’t even read a blueprint.”


The traditional hiring process - résumés, interviews, references - offers only a cursory view of job candidates, says Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO at Joor, a New York-based company that is using software to help move the wholesale fashion business online.

In this piece about "trial hiring" in The New York Times, she said in her company’s early years, only one in three hires worked out, so she felt they needed to try another approach. 

Early in 2014, her director of operations brought in seven people to work on a trial basis. They started on the same day, received two days of training and then did 30 days of contract work. At the end of the trial, three were retained as full-time workers,  and "they’re all rock stars” according to Bijoor.

The NYT article says the trial hiring program was so successful, the company has now formalized a “temp-to-perm” hiring process, and roughly half of Joor’s 50 current employees started on a temporary contract. 

“We find people who are in jobs where they are unhappy,” Bijoor told the newspaper. “They are willing to take the risk because they believe in what we are doing or see themselves working for a start-up. It’s not conveyed as a one-way benefit for Joor. We want to make sure Joor is the right fit for them, too.”

Rob Bellenfant, the 27-year-old CEO of IT marketing company TechnologyAdvice in Brentwood, Tennessee, says they have started doing short "test drives." 

"We bring candidates we're strongly considering in for a half day of work. This gives them a chance to work on a real project, interact with the people who would be their colleagues and direct reports, and get a feel for our expectations, environment, and workflow. Those we've hired - and those we haven't - said said the experience was as beneficial for them as it was for us to make sure the position, tasks, and culture are a good fit for both sides."

Tags: Staffing agencies, The New York Times, NFIB, Hiring trends, Temp-to-perm, WorkSmart Systems, Veteran Talent Advisors, Joor