3 serious consequences of a bad hire

By Robert Half 11th July 2017

So you've decided to hire a new employee. This involves advertising the role, identifying suitable candidates, carrying out interviews and then making your final choice. Having been impressed by an individual during the recruitment process, you offer them the job and then look forward to seeing them in action.

However, not too long after they arrive, it becomes clear there is a problem – they are a bad hire. Some consistent patterns start developing, for example, your new employee misses deadlines, falls out with colleagues, ignores the company mission and values, and only does the bare minimum at work. Thinking back to when you meet them in the interview and what signs might have appeared that perhaps you didn't notice or ignored.

Why it's important to recruit the best

Your business loses more than time, money and effort by recruiting, hiring and training people who perhaps shouldn't have been brought on in the first place. You must also deal with the havoc that the "wrong" employee can create: the business you may lose when that individual interacts with customers, the cost you incur when you have to repeat procedures that were handled ineptly and the pressures on other employees who must pick up the slack. But the cost of a bad hire don't end there.

Consider the expense and hassle that you face when you have to cut your losses and dismiss this "wrong" hire. In the long run, it's more difficult for the manager and team to accommodate a poor performer than it is to invest in recruiting quality candidates.

The wisest hiring advice put in the time and effort on the front end to make sure you have the best available pool of applicants for every job opening. And determine whether you have good procedures in place for evaluating candidates.

The cost of a bad hire

A bad hire may be unavoidable; sometimes candidates can have great CVs and interview brilliantly but may not be right fit for the role. But nonetheless, the mistake can cause serious problems for organisations. These three consequences from the Robert Half Management Insights report How to avoid common hiring mistakes reveal what your business may encounter:

1. Lost productivity

If you have a bad hire, and the employee can't do their job effectively, or as well as the person they replaced, it means wasted time. The organisation may be investing the same amount of resources in the staff member, but seeing significantly less output in return. Over a period of time, this can have a real impact on results and the overall performance of the team.

When faced with a struggling colleague, other employees may start assuming other duties which aren't really in their job description. This not only impacts their own performance and productivity at work, but their ability to keep appointments, hit targets and maintain standards.

2. Lower staff morale

If a bad hire is working at below capacity - due to a lack of skills or motivation - this can quickly have a knock-on effect to the rest of the workforce. One of the first things to take a hit may be staff morale. If employees are asked to do more to cover for a struggling colleague, yet still receive the same salary, it can cause tension and potentially conflict.

A bad hire who has a negative attitude towards work can have a knock on effect on staff morale. If they are unable to fit seamlessly into existing teams and get on with their colleagues, it can ruin the atmosphere in the office. This potentially impacts on how much employees enjoy doing their jobs, and the likelihood they will stay with the organisation for the long term.

3. Monetary costs of finding a replacement

It costs money to hire employees and the replace them. Organisations need to create job descriptions, advertise roles, read through CVs and application forms and carry out interviews. All the while, they may be operating short-staffed due to a lack of capacity in the office. Even after the new employee joins a company, there is onboarding expenditure to consider, plus the fact the recruit may not be as productive as the experienced person they replaced.

To overcome a wrong hiring mistake, it may be necessary to reallocate people and resources, invest in further training, or in the most serious instances, let the employee go. Even then there are further costs to be incurred, in terms of re-recruiting for the position. Essentially you are back to square one, with a position still to fill.

Perfect match infographic

Hiring the right person

There's no doubt that poor recruitment decisions of a bad hire can have long-term impacts for organisations - and fixing an underperforming employee can take some time to set right. If you do end up with an unsuitable employee, it's important to address the situation.

It's vital that organisations take all reasonable steps to avoid making hiring mistakes. Using a recruitment agency can help reduce the risks involved with bringing a new employee onboard. They can use their knowledge of industry sectors, client requirements and candidate capabilities to help select the right person.

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