My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes. No disrespect intended!

Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

Have you ever wondered how mediocre executives continue to get job after job while highly talented executives sit on the beach? I sure have. Pretty much daily. These folks are like a cat with nine lives. They get terminated for embezzlement, drunken bar fights, soliciting prostitutes, then there they are again – they found ANOTHER new job. WTF?

This is a particularly troubling area for Executive Recruiters. We only get paid when our candidate is hired, so it’s frustrating when we submit the best candidate and the hiring company goes with someone we know has personal issues. Integrity issues. Addiction issues. But at the end of the day the hiring company is the Boss. It’s their choice.

This article is about the three most common reasons that perfectly good companies make terribly bad hiring choices. For the record, my completely unscientific survey shows that 90% of those bad choices result in the executive being terminated within 12 months. Cost of that turnover? Typically 300% of the employee’s salary. Pretty expensive, yes?

Companies Don’t have the 411 – This is a HUGE issue for companies that post jobs online and cold call executives. “Post and pray” has become standard operating procedure for HR departments.  They post jobs, shuffle through hundreds of unqualified candidates and eventually pick someone. The result is marginal hires (at best!) and high employee turnover rates. Another major issue is that resumes actually tell you very little. Candidates don’t list their drug, alcohol and gambling additions. They don’t disclose their sexual harassment lawsuits. They certainly don’t tell you they were terminated for embezzlement, inappropriate relationships or soliciting prostitutes on the clock. Here is a classic: Terminated for having sex in public at a casino he was actually managing. I’m not kidding. Every one of these examples is based on a true story. Still want to cold call people? If you are a senior level executive, STOP applying to online jobs! Use your professional network or engage an Executive Recruiter to assist with your career search.

Companies “Settle” – Sometimes the company searches for months and months without hiring anyone. Mostly that is because they are either not paying enough or the company has a bad reputation and can no longer attract quality candidates. That is what separates the “A” companies from the “B” companies: High quality management and an attractive company culture. I’m not judging or criticizing – everyone can’t be Nordstrom. What I am saying is that once good companies start making bad hiring choices they quickly become “B” players. Given this is the best economy in history, there is no penalty…today. But wait until the economy tanks. What goes up, always comes back down. Companies that made bad hiring choices are going to get crushed. Like 2008, many will go out of business. The difference between the winners and the losers is the hiring decisions.

Relationships Trump Talent – Mostly I work in the gaming/casino space, and as Walt Disney once said, “It’s a small, small world.” Las Vegas is Mayberry RFD, a city of 2,000,000 run by 200. And those 200 all know each other. If “juice” ran Las Vegas in the 60s, “relationships” run the city today. Unfortunately, in certain instances, that results in some pretty ugly hiring choices. Executives love to hire their friends. Why? Because they know, like and trust them. Hiring by referral is an excellent strategy, and it works out 85% of the time. Let’s talk about the other 15%. Over the last 14 years I have seen some pretty awful hiring decisions. Usually I just shake my head and think, “Do you have any idea why that guy was fired from the last job?” Look, I work for the God of second chances, but gaming is a highly regulated space, and Las Vegas is a town with no clocks or rules. It’s pretty easy to hurt yourself. If you have a propensity for vices, casinos and Las Vegas are not going to be a good career choice for you. If you are going to hire your friends, you better make damn sure they are highly competent AND you know why they were terminated from their last job. As a candidate, keep in mind that 85% of the senior level jobs go to REFERRALS. If you are looking for a new career opportunity, reach out to your professional network. If you are a CFO, email your CFO friends to see if they know of any good career opportunities.