The cost of a bad hire: 1 in 10 recruits are regarded as a ‘poor hiring decision’

Report from Robert Half UK highlights the impact of a bad hire and provides tips on how to avoid common hiring mistakes

  • 70% of HR directors have taken on a new employee who did not meet expectations
  • 91% of HR directors find it challenging to find skilled talent

London, 23 March, 2015 One in 10 new recruits are regarded as a ‘poor hiring decision’ according to the latest report, Management Insights: How to avoid common hiring mistakes from leading recruitment specialists, Robert Half UK, with 70% of HR directors admitting that they have hired someone who did not meet expectations1.

As companies turn their attention to growth and profitability, the implications of a bad hire can be far more costly than first realised.  More than half (52%) of HR directors said that loss of productivity is the biggest problem associated with making the wrong recruitment decision. Almost a third (30%) said that a poor hire reduces staff morale whilst one in five (17%) HR directors said that it has resulted in significant financial costs.  These can include the employee’s salary and lost performance; education and training costs to raise performance levels; impacted productivity of the employee, colleagues and management; potential loss of revenue and the ultimate cost to re-recruit for the role.

UK hiring managers were asked, “Which one of the following, in your opinion, is the single greatest impact of a bad hiring decision?” Their responses:           

Lost productivity 52%
Lower staff morale 30%
Monetary costs 17%

Source: UK Survey of 200 hiring managers

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, said: “In today’s business environment, competition for top talent is high and the job market is changing at a rapid pace.  It is therefore essential that every employee demonstrates measurable results towards a company’s growth and strategic goals.

"To minimise the risk of a bad hire, employers need to continuously evolve their recruiting processes, ensuring they have the right people and practices in place to identify and secure the most sought after candidates. Businesses should also ensure they work closely with the HR department and a specialised recruiter to establish a robust recruitment strategy. "

Further research from Robert Half found that the vast majority (91%) of HR directors find it challenging to identify and recruit skilled professionals. The prevailing war for talent is anticipated to increase substantially over the next 12 months due to an ongoing skills shortage in the market.  When identifying  the challenges in sourcing and recruiting talent, over a third (35%) of HR directors cited a lack of niche or technical experts, followed by general demand outweighing supply (30%) and a lack of commercial business skills (22%). Only 13% cited slowed hiring during the recession resulting in a lack of candidates with the right skills.

Robert Half offers the following recruiting dos and don’ts:

Don't Do
1. Go it alone Consult colleagues on attributes and competencies for the open role, and work with a specialised recruitment consultancy to find the best candidates.
2. Neglect the job description Providing detail to ‘sell’ the job will result in better applications. Details such as team size, reporting lines, corporate values and training opportunities will all prove attractive to potential candidates.
3. Think the Internet has all the answers Cultivate a talent pipeline by personally reaching out to your network and recruiting sources. Online tools can be valuable, but personal interaction is the most important aspect of the hiring process.
4. Take too long Extend an offer once you identify your top candidate. Companies that don't move quickly risk losing good people to other opportunities.
5. Offer a low salary Offer a compensation package that, at a minimum, meets the market standard. Stay current on prevailing trends by reviewing resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide.
6. Fail to differentiate between must-have and nice-to-have candidate attributes Identify the skills that are mandatory and those that can be developed. The goal is to hire the person who is the best match for the job and your work environment.



Notes to editors

1 The survey was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location. 


About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and