The Cost of a Bad Hire

February 14th, 2019


The direct financial cost of a bad hire can mount quickly. Start adding up the time and effort of the recruitment process, plus the onboarding and training for the short-lived employee. Throw in that person’s salary for the brief time they worked for you and it can really add up.

As painful as the financial costs of a hiring mistake can be, it’s at least relatively easy to compute. The financial cost is obvious.

However, there are other negative impacts that ripple out from a bad hire. And these can prove much subtler. You might not notice them immediately but rack up enough questionable hires and it can significantly impact your ability to grow as a company.

Here are some of the more pernicious hidden costs of a bad hire:

Opportunity Cost

Most hires come down to a choice among a few stand-out candidates. Make the wrong decision and you’ve likely lost your chance to hire one of those other top contenders.

Meanwhile, a hire doesn’t turn bad in the instant you make the decision – there’s no red “x,” with accompanying buzzer, that appears when you make the wrong selection. It takes time to figure out the mistake. That process involves burning of through significant resources.

You probably won’t know for weeks whether the new employee will work out. Those are weeks you don’t get back. Meanwhile, you’ve taken time training the new hire and integrating them with your current team – all time that was fundamentally wasted.

Morale Suffers

A bad hire has a negative impact on the current staff. They suffer the direct results of the bad hire’s worst qualities, whether it’s attitude or incompetence or some combination of those. Your hardworking team has to deal with it. And there’s one person they’ll blame for it: you.

A bad hire creates a distraction that can cut into the productivity of your other workers. Meanwhile, it lowers your overall approval rating with your team, a fact that further cuts into morale and could fester for long after the terrible hiring choice has been fixed.

Starting Over

The worst part of a bad hire, at least from your personal perspective: starting the whole recruiting process again.

You can try bringing in some of the people who just missed the cut last time around, but they have likely moved on to other opportunities. In all likelihood, you’ll have to start from scratch. Another round of resume sifting. Another cycle of dreary interviews.

The prospect of repeating the process means many of your projects will stay at a standstill. You have longer-term goals you are trying to accomplish. Filling this position is just one step in that process. Now, you’re back to the starting line, with your ultimate goal seemingly getting further away.

Partnering with a staffing firm can help mitigate the risks of a bad hire. A strong recruiter, like SmartTalent, will do the legwork for you, maximizing your chance of getting a top-level candidate, while minimizing your workload.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out what they can do to streamline your recruitment process.

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