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Regrettable Recruiting - The Consequences of a Bad Hire

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​Do you know the real cost of a bad hire?

So, the new hire hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. Actually…far from it. Okay, you’ve made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, no biggie, you will just hire a new person to replace them. Right?

The underperformance of the new hire can lead to significant drawbacks such as wasted time, loss of clients and substantial financial implications, potentially amounting to tens of thousands of dirhams. It’s thought that the average cost of a bad hire can range from 62,000 AED to 881,000 AED depending on the role. Therefore, addressing this issue promptly and effectively becomes crucial for the company's success and overall stability.

In addition to the above, other expenses can include:

  • Lost time supervising the hire – when a new employee underperforms, supervisors and managers are required to invest additional time and effort into guiding them.

  • Recurring training costs – training expenses can accumulate over time and have a negative impact on the company budget.

  • A damaged reputation – does the underperformance directly affect the company’s products or services? Negative feedback can tarnish the company’s image.

  • Lower company morale – underperformance can create a sense of frustration and demotivation among the existing employees.

  • Reduced productivity levels – one person’s shortfalls can influence the productivity levels of an entire team and can lead to delays and inefficiencies.

What is a bad hire?

According to the Harvard Business Review, a person that leaves a company (on their own accord or by termination) in the first 18 months is classed as an unsuccessful hire. Getting it right is now more important than ever with a scarcity of candidates with desired skills and intense competition arising from a limited talent pool.

The red flag checklist

  • Doing the bare minimum – assigned work isn’t getting done on time or to the required standard

  • Complaints from other employees – ignoring company values, team feeling like the new hire isn’t pulling their weight, errors in their work

  • Losing clients

  • New employee arriving late regularly

  • Personality is different from the interview stage

Ask yourself, does the new employee fit with the company culture and are they delivering what you need?

Chances are, if you are doubting the hire then it’s probably not going to work out.

It’s not me it’s you!

Who’s to blame? A bad hire or bad hiring process?

Is it an unfortunate selection of an unfit candidate, or a flawed hiring procedure? Allowing adequate time for new employees to settle in is important, especially when they have relocated for the position and are tasked with establishing a fresh client base. This transition period may extend up to 3-6 months. If the new employee's adjustment period exceeds the norm or if there has been a line of recent underperforming hires, it is very possible that the fault lies with the hiring process itself.

Ain’t no mountain hire enough

You need a proven, structured hiring process from the job description through to the interview stage and personality evaluations, it’s all relevant. How are your reference-checking skills? This is essential as it helps filter out potentially unreliable employees. Although it may require some time and effort, this rigorous process will prove advantageous in the long run, sparing you from discovering any issues later down the line (and saving some hefty costs).

Pay attention to the initial warning signs, which could be an inadequate CV. Are there any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes? Is it compelling, coherent and concise?

During the interview stage, be vigilant regarding the candidate's personality and behaviour. Do they tend to speak negatively about their previous employer? Are they only asking questions about employee benefits? *Can you hear alarm bells ringing?*

A few more ways to improve your hiring process

  • Prerequisites – candidates should be able to come to the interview prepared to demonstrate the skills that they will not be trained in

  • Have a structured interview with a set of standardized questions for each candidate – the candidate needs to understand the skills required needed for the particular role

  • Competency-based assessments

  • Panel interviews for a more comprehensive evaluation

  • Scenario-based questions

  • Behavioural questions

  • Cultural fit evaluation: work style, adaptability to cultures - everyone has a different opinion on what a culture fit is, ensure that you have the qualities you are looking for in your mind and ask yourself does this candidate appear to have those traits?

  • Working with a Talent Partner – leave it up to a professional to find you the perfect fit for your company

It’s important not to rush your hiring process. Even if your team are taking on more than normal, temporarily a bad hire is not the solution. In the end a company’s success is built on its employees. Investing time, effort and resources into the selection process is crucial to finding the right fit for your team. By making careful, informed hiring decisions, your company can be set up for success in a thriving working environment.