How poor recruitment practices kill people’s careers

While investigating the cause of high fraud incidents among tellers at the bank’s branches, I noted with concern a common occurrence: all tellers with a university degree reported high incidences of cash shortage compared to their less educated counterparts – tellers with a diploma or college education rarely reported cash shortages.

If you work in a bank you know how many young people’s careers have been cut short due to the problem of cash shortages. Others are outright theft. Many of them are due to lack of attention to detail, something that can easily be fixed.

One would expect a university graduate to be more alert, attentive to details and make a better teller.

Investigations being about facts, I requested to review any available security camera footage in different banking halls. This coupled with observations in the banking halls and one-on-one interviews with select staff, I had some answers.

Most graduates felt they were overqualified for the job of a bank teller. They did not feel proud doing the job which made them disorganized. As they say, a “large battery in a small job brings about boredom.” Few instances were noticed where some tellers (graduates) would duck their heads in the till, as a person they knew probably an old boy or girl, entered the banking hall. Some did not even what to be seen doing the job. These staff felt bored doing a basic teller job. On the other hand, diploma holders and undergraduates were proud of their jobs.

There is no such thing as “we are in things” meaning the company is hiring a highly qualified professional for a junior job. Such people will quickly become bored and a huge cost to the company. If you hire a qualified professional, ensure appropriate responsibilities with clear outputs are assigned to them so that their skills and talents are continuously stretched.

The ability to match skills with clear outputs is what makes employees love their jobs.

If unqualified staff are assigned to deliver demanding outputs, they will easily burnout. You will have high incidents of stress, sick leave, lots of mistakes, etc.

If experienced and skilled staff are assigned basic tasks, they will get bored easily. Unfortunately, majority of people find themselves in jobs they don’t fit in well, but just continue working for sake of eking a living.

That is why I hate most human resource departments. They are good at coming up with job descriptions instead of job outputs. In the end, you have someone not optimizing their skills and talent because their job description is just too restrictive. Job descriptions also create the problem of positional leadership — where someone has a title and feels like a small god. You have probably seen folks who do everything so slow — walk slowly, drive slowly as if aimless — so that they arrive at office and find a line of people waiting for them. That is how they get their satisfaction. In public service, it is normal for an officer to ask their secretary when they come late and find no one is waiting for them that: “today there is no one waiting for me yet?” These folks get pride in finding a long queue of people waiting. Instead of seeing it as their inefficiency, they see it as “being powerful.”

Such poor mindset is a main cause of corruption, inefficiency and poor service delivery. Unfortunately, it all emanates from job descriptions which lead to restricting one’s thinking resulting into positional leadership.

I pray for ongoing human resource deployment reviews – to match skills to outputs NOT job descriptions.

Copyright 2014 Mustapha B Mugisa. All rights reserved.

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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