The recruitment process can necessitate a great deal of focus and effort from the moment you begin screening piles of resumes to then shortlisting the candidates and finally onboarding the talent. If an organization hires a poor fit, it is not only a costly misstep but one that can wither staff morale.
A vital task of any Human Resources department is to hire the best employee for any given position. According to research, 43 percent of respondents admitted having made a bad hire when felt the need to hire quickly. The sacrifice of quality due to urgency is often a common misstep. HR managers must be aware of the costs involved in making a poor hire and communicate the same sentiment to higher management. It is worth a short wait to ensure onboarding of the best possible talent.
Costs involved in a bad hire:
- Recruitment cost: Cost involved in the screening and hiring process
- Remuneration: Salary given to unproductive employees
- Maintenance Cost: Perks and other benefits offered if a bad hire stays for a significant time
- Opportunity Cost: Highly productive employee could have been hired in the first place and other costs saved
- Disruption cost: Impact on the team—disorder in company culture and negative attitudes
How to recognize a bad hire?
Decode the warning signs of a bad hire by closely monitoring their behavior, working style, and surroundings.
- Constant complaints: You don’t want an employee who constantly complains about their previous job/boss. A reference to a previous employer or challenging work situation is understandable but constant complaining not only appears unprofessional but means your organization may be discussed in the same vein if the employee chooses to ‘move on’. The negative tone can also infect the attitudes of surrounding co-workers.
- Living in the past: A major sign of an issue is when a new hire is always comparing or referring back to his or her previous workplace. The “in my previous job” line is not only infectious for the working environment but makes it difficult for the person to fit inside the current team.
- “It’s not my job”: In an organization, each employee has a defined set of tasks and assigned responsibilities, but a quality employee goes beyond his or her role to address additional responsibilities. It is easy to spot a bad hire who tends to use the phrase “it is not my job” often and in complaint. This is toxic for the organization’s culture and for employees trying to contribute towards the company’s success.
- Non-cohesion: Many corporate gurus emphasize the importance of company culture. Every organization has a unique culture regardless of its size. A positive working culture helps to maintain team member motivation and productivity. If you notice an increase in departmental negativity after hiring an individual, this is a sign of a poor hire who does not blend with the team.
How can you avoid this situation?
- Clear communication through the job description: Before posting a job on portals or job websites, the organization should be clear on expectations for the role in which the candidate would be hired. For any given position, there are two types of expertise – Pre-requisite or mandatory skillsets which a candidate must have, and trainable expertise, which an employee can learn or develop once hired. If these competencies are clearly defined, it is far easier for recruiters to scrutinize candidates based on these proficiencies.
- Employee referrals: Never underestimate the employee referral program. There is a higher likelihood that recommended employees will be ‘positive hires’ for the organization. Why? The reputation of an employee who recommended a candidate is at stake and will not recommend someone unlikely to stick around. Also, the merit of the employee referral program is that referred candidates are already familiar with the organization, its culture, and its goals, which saves acclimation time and helps the new hire move forward in his/her new role.
- Avoid unconscious bias: During the hiring process, it is crucial to be aware of unconscious biases such as gender, ethnicity, or age biases, or even biases against certain kinds of humor or personality traits which then prevent you from onboarding the best talent for the job.
If you do recognize a bad hire, how can you improve the situation?
- Determine if there is hope: A difference exists between a ‘bad hire with potential’ and a ‘bad hire that needs to be terminated’. As mentioned earlier, if skillsets can be developed with efficient training then there’s still a chance to move forward with the new hire. Also, how often you communicate with your employees? What types of support do they need? Regular feedback and evaluations can transform a poor fit into a productive employee. Attitude is critical. If your employee is a positive fit with the departmental culture, receptive to your feedback, and willing to learn, he or she may be worth the effort.
- Terminate immediately: If you find the new hire to be truly a poor fit, commence the termination process immediately. The health of your organization depends upon your employees. If one is deemed toxic to team culture and productivity, action should be taken immediately.
- Remain gracious: Once you have decided to fire an employee, do so graciously! Be generous with severance pay. Remember, the recruiters or hiring managers are just as responsible for the poor fit as the employee. Remind the employee that the organization will be happy to recommend them to further employers (barring any performance or character issues).
Above all, HR and talent acquisition professionals must be detail-oriented in their approach during the hiring process. If those in charge are aware of what they are looking for in terms of hard, requisite job skills as well as soft skills and personality, it is much easier to locate these skills within a candidate.
Director and Country Manager
I invite you to please connect with me