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How a bad hiring decision could cost you time and money

How a bad hiring decision could cost you time and moneyCompeting in the employment process is an absolute pleasure. Not only do you sit back with the feeling of a job well done but you have the second, even more satisfying feeling that you have added a key element to your team.

But what happens if your celebrations turn out to be premature? Perhaps the new team member starts well, but the quality of their work starts to slip? Maybe their behaviours don’t fit with the rest of the team or the values of your organisation? They may fail to build relationships with colleagues and customers, or simply not contribute as well as you would like to overall productivity. In short, you have a possible bad hire on your hands.

In any industry, the right people are the lifeblood of success, and a bad hire will soon impact on this. Without the right team, your business may survive, but it is more likely to be ticking over than reaching new heights. In the financial and banking sector, having the correct team is probably more important than in any other industry. While you can muddle through with semi-trained staff in some arenas, in the financial world, you need everyone firing on all cylinders. In short, a bad hire can be extremely damaging.

Negative consequences

The immediate consequence of a bad appointment is the negative impact on your own time as their manager. Sorting out difficulties will become a drain on your time as you follow behind them correcting mistakes and smoothing over issues. Even if you manage to deal with the situation without a disciplinary process, you will lose hours addressing your problem. Often though something more formal will be needed bringing more time management pressure.

Almost as significant as the drain on your time is the impact on your team. Team dynamics are subtle and require building over time. Introducing the wrong person into such a mix can have a detrimental effect on the balance of the team, both from the point of view of morale, and from a practical point of view, as existing team members are forced to put aside their own tasks to help, or cover for, a weak link. A worse situation is when the bad hire is popular and charismatic. The team can very quickly turn against what they see as an enemy of their new friend. Sadly, this can be the very people trying to help them – you and the management team.

Despite your best efforts to develop your troublesome new employee, in the end, you may have no alternative but to terminate their employment. As well as being a stressful process for all concerned, your business will suffer financially. A bad hire is costly, very costly. When you add all the hidden costs to the money spent on recruitment even a mid-level manager can cost your business in the region of £130,000

As a final thought, you can never underestimate the impact on the reputation of your business of having someone dealing with your customers who can’t, or won’t, operate to the standard that everyone expects. We all know how much easier it is to retain a customer than find a new one, but the hardest job of all is re-engaging with one who has suffered failing service and lowering standards.

Prevention is better than cure

The most effective way to limit the chances of a bad hire is to get expert help from recruitment specialists in your industry. They will always follow the process that you have designed between you to meet your needs. They will perform the skills tests, assessment process, follow up references and check for bona fide qualifications. It can be valuable to involve a range of individuals in the interview process, even if this extends to a simple meet and greet for existing members of the team. Colleagues from outside your function can add a useful perspective.

Any appointment should include a trial or probation period. It is easy to pay lip service to this process, but it should not be skimped because your new employee will need help and support to understand your expectations, as well as the values and culture of your organisation. Set out their objectives and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which these will be measured very clearly so that they have goals to work towards. This will also give you a clear benchmark test against which to measure their performance. In addition, you need to ensure that you are seeing the situation clearly and KPIs will help you avoid the trap of over supporting your decision and help in resolving the blossoming problem in a recorded and measurable way.


Whoever your team needs, when you employ someone, you want to do so with as much confidence as possible in your choice and a process in place to deal with the situation if that proves not to be the case.


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