Candidate Pools & Proactive Recruiting, Employee Retention, Performance Management

Before You Fire That Bad Hire

Conventional wisdom says, when you realize you’ve made a mistake, cut your losses and move on.

Source: PeopleImages / iStock / Getty

But is this good advice when it comes to a bad hire?

Things to Consider

The average cost of a bad hire, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, is $14,900, largely because of lost productivity. However, this figure doesn’t take into account the cost of replacing a bad hire – and turnover can get expensive.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) the cost of replacing an employee can reach as high as 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary.

And then there’s the time element. In an ever-tightening job market, the time to replace a fired bad hire is no small matter.

So, what’s your alternative?

Plan B

Before you cut your losses, make an attempt to salvage the relationship, with attention to these three steps.

Assess. Assess the employee’s skills and abilities in the context of the current job, with attention to shortcomings. Is there internal or external training that can be provided to bring the person up to speed?

Also assess skills and abilities, with attention to strengths. Does the employee have strengths that are underutilized in the current position? If so, does it make sense to change job responsibilities, within the current role, in order to take advantage of what the person has to offer?

Reassess. If the current role is clearly a bad fit, reassess the employee in terms of overall skills and abilities. What does this person have to offer? Does the company need what he or she brings to the workplace?

A bad hire may not be a bad hire; the person may only be a bad fit for the job.

Possibly reassign. If the employee has skills and abilities that will benefit the company, consider reassigning the person.

Is there another open position for which the employee may be better suited?

If not, is there another position that isn’t open that would be an ideal fit? If the answer is yes, give some thought to the person currently in that role. Has he or she expressed an interest in career growth or a job change? If so, you could create an opportunity for him or her as well.

A third option is to create a role. However, you should do this only if the person has exceptional skills and abilities.

Whatever approach you ultimately take, make sure you carefully consider your options before saying “you’re fired.” A solution may require additional effort – but remember, there were reasons you hired that job candidate. If most of those reasons are still valid, explore how you might keep your hire.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.