What Happens When You Hire the Wrong Person? - Atomic Hire Blog
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What Happens When You Hire the Wrong Person?6 min read

August 22, 2019 4 min read


What Happens When You Hire the Wrong Person?6 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a manager, you would never want to hire the wrong person for any role. Not only because of the extra work to find a replacement but because wrong hires drain a lot of time and energy, affecting your business in several ways.

Humans find it extremely hard to admit mistakes, so if you take the wrong person on board, it is very likely that you’ll find yourself forcing a fit that doesn’t exist. Instead of letting the employee go, you might end up working vigorously to fit them into the company spending time and money on training sessions and ongoing performance evaluation.

Ultimately, there’s still a chance they succeed and become a productive employee, but when there are warning signs, the odds are that nothing you try will work out. As a result, you will regret your decision. Either way, the costs of onboarding a bad hire are high.

man in office

The Cost of a Bad Hire

Productivity costs 

Recruitment does not end when a person is hired. What comes next is an intense onboarding process that will demand valuable resources. Your team will be required to spend time on training the new hires and your managers will be responsible for monitoring their progress. In some cases, they will need to moderate the conflict between the new employee and the existing ones. Onboarding is already challenging under normal circumstances, but when the new hire is a poor fit, it can make your business suffer.

Bad hires result in loss of productivity and efficiency. The time and energy invested in training and managing poor-performing employees can negatively impact the business in the long run.

Financial cost

Your business is not only paying the employee who is not performing to your expectations. It is also paying for the extra training and the time invested in them by your existing employees. If eventually, you come to the point where you have to let the employee go, you might have to pay compensation and legal fees. This is not to mention the expenses and efforts you will incur to restart the recruitment process. 

Employee morale cost

When it comes to hiring the wrong person, nothing can hurt your business more than its damaging effects on employee morale. As the old saying goes, one bad apple can spoil the bunch, and while you spend your valuable efforts, time and money correcting your blunder of bad hiring, the rest of the team may become disappointed or demotivated.

Your employees will struggle to stay positive when the new team member needs a lot of attention, hurting their own productivity. In worse cases, the presence of the new employee can bring the whole team’s morale down. If you have to choose between bringing in a new person who does not fit in and your team wellbeing and productivity, don’t think twice.

How to Prevent Hiring the Wrong Person

You can never know for sure if a candidate will be a valuable asset to your company or just a drain on resources. If you have experienced this situation, you must have faced the dilemma of whether it’s worse to get stuck with someone who can barely handle their tasks and is damaging the team, or to admit that you have made a major mistake.

Commonly, in these circumstances, it is less expensive to make a considerable change after assessing the situation. In some cases letting the employee go might be the best decision, but you should also consider reassigning them to a new team or function inside the organisation. In any case, the sooner you make the change, the better it will be.

Coping with the after-effects of a wrong hire will be very challenging. Preventing this situation is the best strategy to escape its damaging effects. This is how to prevent a bad recruitment outcome:

Collaborate with your team

In order to prevent hiring the wrong person, don’t trust your gut instincts. You need to be aware of your own unconscious biases and limitations. Work together with other people from your team to build an accurate evaluation of your candidates and increase your chances to spot the red flags early on.

Go beyond the resumé

A CV screening is always a good starting point for any recruitment process. But the resumé alone and the qualifications mentioned on paper should not be the foundation of your hiring decision. Instead, get a whole picture of who the candidate is and if they will are a good match for the job and the team. One of the best ways to go beyond the resumé is to use structured interviews, which allows you to assess communication skills, body language and gain a deeper insight into the candidate.

Use recruitment assessments

Another way to spot early on the red flags that can help you prevent hiring the wrong person is to use recruitment assessments. A cognitive ability assessment will help you identify the best people for jobs with high complexity whereas a personality assessment can be very useful in determining the fit of a candidate with the job and your existing team.

What to do When You’ve Hired the Wrong Person

Sometimes, a candidate who you thought had the right credentials because he aced the interview and had the best references turns out to be an unfortunate hire. You are lucky if it hasn’t happened to you yet. But the question is, what to do when you realise you have hired the wrong person? 

Get ready for a face-to-face and uncomfortable conversation with the new employee. Rather than deterring a confrontation, talking about your dissatisfaction and their productivity issues might help to solve the problem. Explain the whole situation with proper feedback – including remarks of the clients, colleagues, and managers who they are reporting to. 

If the situation does not improve and you decide to terminate the employment contract, look for each opportunity to make the employee’s farewell pleasant and graceful. A candid conversation will give them the opportunity to understand what went wrong and help them learn from the experience.

It is painful and challenging for everyone when you make an unsuccessful hire. For this reason, one should know what to do during the recruitment process to prevent wrong hiring and the steps to take when the damage is done.

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