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Bad hiring: more common than you think

Bad hiring: more common than you think

It’s fairly common that a new hire’s performance is problematically underwhelming. A CareerBuilder survey found nearly 74% of HR professionals said they’d made a mistake in hiring. Employers have said bad hires are often made out of desperation. An employer is in dire need of someone, and an employee is hired who isn’t fully vetted.

What makes someone a bad hire? According to CareerBuilder, managers spot bad hires when they notice at least one of three red flags:

  1. The new employee could not produce the quality of work needed or did not have the skills he or she claimed to have;
  2. The hire couldn’t get along with the team or had a negative attitude; or
  3. They wouldn’t show up for work consistently.

A bad hire can result in additional recruitment fees, relocation and training for a replacement, a negative effect on team performance, disruption of work and of projects, lost customers, weakened employer brand and litigation fees. Estimates for a dollar amount of replacing a bad fit vary, but a common rule of thumb is that it costs 30% of that person’s first year of potential earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Why is your hire a bad one?

Replacing a bad hire involves a lot of expenses, but allowing a bad hire to remain in place can be just as costly. As such a situation could wear on team morale and could even drive away veteran employees. Neither option is ideal.

There are a few reasons someone can be a bad hire. They may make too many mistakes, may display consistent tardiness or may not fit with the organization’s culture. But to determine the cause, managers must to take a step back to the beginning of the hiring process and ask themselves, “What did I want this person to do? What did I communicate? Is the job what I said? What is the onboarding? Did we bring the person onboard in the right way to succeed?”

Two questions to ask are (1) knowing what I know now, would I hire this person again?, and (2) is this the best person for the job? These questions aren’t just asked when facing an underperforming employee, but should be revisited throughout their employment.

If managers have to say no to the questions they pose themselves about a bad hire, they have to know why that is. Company leaders have one more question to ask themselves at that point: What can I do to answer those questions in the affirmative? The solution may lie in development, mentoring, coaching or whatever can fill the gaps. Simple patience could be the answer:  Some people rush to fire a person, when in reality, the employee needed more time to become a good fit.

Reforming a bad hire

If the problem is cultural, the appropriate response may be more conversational, such as discussing attitude, appearance, cell phone use or punctuality, or another expectation unique to an organization. If the new employee’s problem concerns job performance, a manager may need to think about what tools, training or resources the hire could benefit from.

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