How to Avoid a Bad Hire

What is a Bad Hire?

Career experts at Job Searcher define a bad hire as:

“A new employee who doesn’t meet the minimum performance, quality, and culture fit standards you set when you began sourcing and recruiting. Additionally, bad hires will immediately show signs of self-interest instead of an interest in their role and the company.”

Job Searcher’s HR Experts

The Impact of a Bad Hire

How much does a bad hire cost a company?

The Department of Labor claims that a bad hire could cost about 30% of the new employee’s salary, including advertising, training, and the lost of productivity. This could be as high as $240,000.00. You will also have to re-allocate money AGAIN for advertising, background checks, assessments, etc.
What non-monetary consequences does a bad hire pose?

Yes, a bad hire is financially risky, but it also poses non-financial risks for the business as well. Bad hires sometimes tend to interrupt the peace, whether it be due to their poor performance or their inability to get along with others. This could lead to a cultural imbalance, lower employee morale, or even cause your business’s reputation to take a hit.
How is there a loss in productivity due to a bad hire?

There is a loss in productivity for two reasons. The obvious one being that you have had a vacant position for however long it took to hire the new employee. The other one is the mere fact that if the new employee misrepresented themselves during the hiring process, then they likely aren’t competent enough to perform well enough to be productive. Additionally, if the newbie is supposed to be working with their colleagues or collaborating, then this could create a mess in itself.

3 hiring mistakes that lead to a bad hire

Rushing the Process

Rushing the process could mean not properly organizing your recruiting and hiring process. Or, it could simply mean rushing through it and being willing to skip steps.

It is better to be fully present in each stage of the hiring process than to deal with the costs of making a bad hire.

Too Much Focus on Experience

Sometimes you can have the perfect candidate… but only on paper. It is important to get to know the candidate and determine if they would be a good culture fit.

Good performance can be undermined by an employee who ruins the workplace atmosphere or doesn’t fit into the culture.

Individual Hiring

Hiring a new employee should be done by a team of people. Relying on one person to do it leaves room for errors, missed information, and/or unconscious biases.

You should include people from all levels – their coworkers, other supervisors/managers, & other HR employees.

Red flags of potential bad hires

The best way to handle a bad hire is to never make one. When evaluating the skills and qualifications of potential candidates, it is important not to forget to keep an eye out for potential red flags. Here are some you should keep a look out for.

  • Speak terribly about previous company or employer
  • Have a hard time giving a valid reason for leaving previous job
  • Tardiness, inflexibility, unpreparedness and not asking any questions
  • Lack of ownership for past mistakes
  • No hint of passion or excitement for the role, product, or company
  • Short employment tenures
  • People who aren’t their references don’t want to talk about them or have negative things to say
  • They make unreasonable demands right away

4 Tips to avoid a bad hire

Building your own talent pool not only saves a lot of time when sourcing candidates, but it also gives you a little boost of confidence. Why? Because you know and have vetted these people already.

Avoiding a bad hire comes down to how involved and organized you are in your hiring process.

Connecting and engaging with candidates every step of the way helps you spot red flags early and make adjustments.

A diverse group of people involved in the hiring process doesn’t just help diversify your workforce. It also encourages feedback from potential coworkers. Additionally, it sheds light on if the candidate will be a great culture fit or not.

Focusing only on experience is a huge no no. However, it shouldn’t be completely ignored. You know what skills and requirements are needed to be successful in the role, so test the candidate before offering them a job.

Interview Questions to increase hiring confidence

In order to assess if a candidate could potentially be a bad hire, you’ll definitely want to mix up your interview questions a little bit. While most of your questions are likely performance-based, at some point, you’ll want to cut through the BS and evaluate what kind of person you’d be getting. In those types of questions, you’ll want to evaluate motivation, communication skills, reliability, flexibility, emotional intelligence, professionalism and his/her desire to learn and grow (Whew! That’s a lot right?).

Luckily, with these questions, you’ll be able to evaluate 2-3 of those things just by the way the candidate answers.

  • When you had extra time in your previous position, how did you spend it?
  • Tell us about a time when you had multiple deadlines that felt unrealistic and unachievable. How did you handle it?
  • Whenever you are faced with a situation that seems to prevent you from achieving a goal or getting a project done, what do you do about it?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt unheard at work and what you did about it.
  • Have you ever promised to handle something at work that came at the most inopportune time? Why did you make that promise, and how did you handle it?
  • What does reliability mean to you?
  • Tell us about a time that you had to pivot or change direction (give specific examples based on your industry) in order to be successful in position.
  • Tell us about a time when you felt you had no control over something in the workplace that was directly impacting you. What did you do about it?
  • What skills and competencies are you excited to develop in this role?
  • In your previous position, how did you go about developing your skillset?
  • If you worked under the supervision of multiple people (or with multiple clients) at once, how did you manage each person’s preferences and priorities?
  • How would your boss describe you? How would your coworkers describe you?
  • What did your last performance review say?

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