Was Ann Curry Simply A “Bad Hire?” – Hiring Well, A True Modern Business Challenge

Not quite the right “chemistry”

Why Ann Curry was Replaced on the Today Show:
NBC News chief Steve Capus candidly told THR that he thought Curry had not been right for the job in many respects. He said he agreed with interviewer Marisa Guthrie that Curry had faltered in the cooking segments, movie star interviews and fluffy features that make up a large portion of “Today.”
“I think her real passion is built around reporting on international stories,” he said. “It’s tough to convey a sincere interest in something if you don’t possess it … and you could tell with her, you can tell with any anchor, whether they’re into it or not. And I think we’ve now come up with a role that will play to her strengths.”
Capus said that, although he felt it was right to give Curry a chance at the top “Today” job (she had put in fourteen years as newsreader and already been passed over once before), he had had no choice but to make the change.
“We gave her a year to prove herself, and ultimately we came to the conclusion that she had played at the highest level she could,” he said. “When you’re in the major leagues of our profession, you’ve got to continue to be at peak performance in order to stay there.”
Ann Curry’s ‘Today’ Exit: Steve Capus, NBC News President, Says ‘We Gave Her A Year To Prove Herself’

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(First, a disclaimer – I have not watched a norming news show in years.  I am an early morning NPR listener.  So, I’m just reflecting from what I have read).

So, who do you hire next?

That is always the question, isn’t it?  The jury is in – the right people doing the right work in the right way make all the difference.  And the wrong people? – Well, that can lead to disaster in a hurry…

Recently, the high profile “hiring fail” was Ann Curry at the Today Show.  Don’t you just know that the folks at NBC wish they had gotten this right.  But, they didn’t.  And their mistake, their “bad hire,” cost them viewers, and advertising dollars, and profits.  And as I have read through the many accounts, I suspect that it really did boil down to two things:

#1 – She had a Passion Mismatch.
Ann Curry really is a news person, not a “fluff” person.  And the Today Show is a combination of the two – no use complaining about it.

And #2 – She was a Team Member mismatch.
She never quite “connected” with the “right chemistry” with Matt Lauer.

In other words, Ann Curry is a great, hard-working, professional – but not quite the fit for this particular job.  And, you know – I don’t think we should blame Ann.  I think it was a bad hire…

When I teach my students about how to do well in interviews, I tell them that every interviewer wants the answer to these four questions:

#1 – Can you do this job?
#2 – Can you do this job better than all those other folks I am considering for this job?
#3 – Can I trust you?
#4 – Are you a good team player?

When we think about Ann Curry, there is so much “good” –

• Work Ethic — ✔
• Competence — ✔
• Trustworthiness — ✔
but…
• “Chemistry” – not quite a ✔

The folks at Express Employment Professionals have come up with the five greatest threats facing businesses today:

• inability to innovate,
• losing competitive advantage
• high costs of reckless hiring
• poor leadership and communication, and
• regulatory nightmares

It’s that third one – the high costs of reckless hiring — that is so very hard to get right.

If you are good at making the right hire, you’ve got a rare gift.  If not, get better.  Especially if you are in the hiring business in any way.

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