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How bad hires happen

Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Posted: 29/10/2019

Making a bad hire is not just frustrating – it’s also very expensive. It’s far more costly than leaving a position open, according to 73% of hiring decision makers[1]. Whatever the new hire’s shortcomings are, their cost to the business can quickly stack up:

  • Salary. If your new hire isn’t doing their job properly – whether due to inability or unwillingness – you’ll be paying a salary for no return.

  • Reduced productivity. A bad hire will reduce productivity in their team, by slowing processes, failing to deliver information and taking up their supervisor’s time. Frustration with a bad hire can also demotivate employees; 35% of hiring managers believe that bad hires greatly affect team morale[2]. By reducing productivity across the team, a bad hire can significantly impact operating profit and/or sales. Even if you replace them, it can take time and effort to repair the damage.

  • Replacement. Having to replace a bad employee doubles the time and money you spend on hiring for the role. Furthermore, you will have to repeat the on-boarding process, which can be a drain on other employees’ time too.

Why do bad hires happen?How much time are you losing on a bad hire?

Despite the damaging consequences of making a bad hire, it’s a mistake made all too often; a staggering 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions[3]. But how do so many unsuitable candidates get past the radar? It usually happens when important details are overlooked or ignored, due to:

1. Lack of hiring experience

Assessing a CV is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiring; in order to really understand the candidate you need exceptional interviewing skills, a highly critical eye and the ability to grasp their true motives. Unfortunately, inexperienced hirers tend to be taken in by candidates that look good on paper.

2. Misjudging character

It’s easy to think a candidate is a good fit because they seem nice and got on well with you in the interview. In fact, identifying someone who will thrive in your company’s environment is about much more. You need to ensure that their values, motives and working style are aligned to that of your company.

3. Trying to save costs

You might choose someone because their salary expectations are low, or because you found them yourself and don’t have to pay agency fees. But comprising on quality to save costs is far more expensive in the long run, due to the negative impacts a bad hire can have on productivity and the expense of replacing them.

4. Desperation

Maybe your company needs someone urgently; maybe you’ve found a seemingly great candidate and you’re worried they’ll take another job. Either way, a snap-decision is risky. If it transpires that they’re the wrong person for the job, you’ll not only have wasted time on them, but lost any other candidates involved in the interviewing process.

How can recruiters help you avoid a bad hire?

Using a recruiter isn’t always necessary, but their skills and connections can be invaluable when:

  • A long wait would impact on-going projects or deadlines
  • The skillsets required for the role are rare or in high demand
  • You’re making a high-level appointment (meaning a bad hire would be particularly costly)
  • You’re making a client-facing appointment (meaning a bad hire would be particularly damaging)

A good recruitment consultancy will ensure you get the right person first time, saving you from the costs and damages a bad hire can incur. At Hobson Prior we achieve this by making use of our:

1. Candidate management skills

When you’re juggling interviews on top of your usual duties, you don’t have time to manage candidates between stages in the hiring process. Candidates may drop out during these gaps, and it’s this risk that can lead employers to make snap-decision hires. Recruiters will manage candidates during these periods: answering questions, addressing concerns and providing reassurance. This enables you to carry out a thorough hiring process, without losing candidates along the way.

Our consultants also support candidates throughout their probation period, to ensure a successful transition. Being a third party is a real advantage: candidates feel more comfortable expressing any concerns to us, and we have the experience to advise and reassure them.

2. Mind-reading powers

Ok, we’re not actually telepathic. But we are skilled at getting to the core of a candidate’s motives. We develop long-term relationships with our candidates, so we get to know their aspirations and behaviours very well. We question candidates deeply about their fit for the role before putting them forward for an interview, in order to filter out time-wasters and window-shoppers.

It can be uncomfortable for a client to challenge a candidate’s reasons for wanting the job, and intense questioning could put the individual off. Recruiters, as a third party, can ensure the candidate is thoroughly vetted whilst protecting the relationship between employer and candidate.

3. Pre-existing candidate pools

You don’t need to compromise on quality when faced with an urgent vacancy. Good recruiters are able to source high-quality, vetted candidates in a short space of time; and they can provide contractors almost immediately to plug any short-term gaps. At Hobson Prior, we’re able to do this due to our proactive headhunting methods. Our consultants continually build and nurture talent pools of skilled individuals who aren’t actively looking for a new job; so when a role comes up, they can immediately match it to well-suited individuals.

Cost effective

With fees ranging from 20-35% of the candidate’s salary, using a recruitment consultancy can seem like the expensive option. However, a specialist consultancy will help significantly reduce the risk of a bad hire, thereby protecting you from the associated costs. Ultimately, using high-quality recruiters to ensure you get the right candidate first time can be the most cost effective solution. This was a lesson one of our clients learnt, when they came to us after a particularly disheartening case of bad hiring – read the case study to see how we helped them recover.

We can secure high quality candidates who’ll make a real difference to your business, so why not contact Hobson Prior to discuss your company’s future staffing requirements.

[1] Career Builder Communications, 2015

[2] Robert Half, 2014

[3] Harvard Business Review

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