Sometimes a job candidate can look great on paper. The job candidate may have the right education, skills and experience necessary to perform in the position, but often that is not enough, says Tom Davenport, senior consultant at Towers Watson, a global professional services company in New York City. To be successful at a company, it takes more than the perfect résumé. While the right experience match is certainly important, a job candidate must also fit into the company and position's culture.

"A bad hire is not someone who was a great performer but suddenly had problems later on," Davenport says. "A bad hire is someone who just didn't  fit the culture or the specific position from the beginning, so the problem starts with how you hire, how you conceive of what's required to be successful in the job and how you assess candidates against those success requirements. You can list all these requirements, skills and educational expectations, but if you boil it right down, you need to define what differentiates successful people from unsuccessful ones and how do we look for that."

When first beginning the job search, Davenport suggests taking a look at past performers and examine the top 5 percent of performers who succeeded in their positions. Beyond comparing their educational and skills experiences, look at what went well and what did not when they were first hired.

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