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Bad hire evident almost immediately

Matt Weston

Almost two in five businesses (39 percent) take just two weeks to discover that they have hired the wrong person, according to independent research. Contributor Matt Weston, UK Managing Director – Robert Half.

According to the study of almost 5,000 managers in 13 countries around the world, 39 percent typically realise within a fortnight that a new hire is not meeting expectations. Meanwhile, over one in seven (15 percent) employers realise they’ve made a mistake within a recruit’s first week on the job. The most common reasons given were a mismatch of skills (44 percent), underqualified candidates (42 percent) and people found to be lying on their CVs (37 percent).

When asked what steps they took to address a poor hiring decision, 40 percent of employers said they terminated the employee’s contract and started the complex and costly process of finding a replacement, compared to 39 percent who developed a training programme to build the employee’s skills.

In the event of a bad hire, one third (33 percent) of employers turned to a staffing agency to find a replacement, while the same portion have restarted the hiring process from the beginning. Surprisingly, 32 percent adopted a wait and see approach to see if the employee’s performance would improve on its own.

Hiring the wrong person for the job can significantly impact an organisation. The top three consequences of a bad hire according to managers are increased workload for colleagues (50 percent), increased stress on colleagues (39 percent) and lost productivity (33 percent). Aside from increased stress and workload for management, other negative consequences include higher recruitment costs (32 percent), lost business opportunities/revenue (24 percent) and low staff morale (24 percent).

Bad hires can be highly costly for companies, though many companies struggle with accurately calculating the cost of hiring the wrong person. While 16 percent say they don’t track these costs, 41 percent said they fail to compile all the data in an overview.  More than one third (34 percent) say some costs are not accurately measurable and 5 percent admit they have not looked at doing it.

“Businesses go to great lengths to find and attract the right candidate, but the cost of making the wrong hire can be significant,” said Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “Whether organisations decide to terminate their employment or invest in training them, it will impact the company financially and cause significant disruption and stress to the existing workforce. It’s therefore critical to get it right the first time.”

“While some factors, such as cultural fit, attitude, or even lies or embellishments on a CV can be challenging to account for in an interview, an experienced hiring manager and a thorough process should be able to identify most of these. It’s important to ask the right questions, thoroughly test skills and perform meticulous reference checking. Employers would benefit from reviewing their hiring policies to ensure they strike the right balance between efficiency and rigour,” concluded Weston.

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