Hiring & Recruiting

Bad Hires Are Widespread, and Costly

These are the main takeaways from a new CareerBuilder survey, which finds nearly three in four employers, 74 percent, have been affected by a bad hire and the average cost of one bad hire is $14,900.

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The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, a provider of human capital solutions, from August 16 to September 15, 2017 and includes a representative sample of 2,257 full-time hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,697 full-time workers across industries and company sizes in the U.S. private sector.

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How Bad Hires Happen

There are two sides to an employment relationship, and both have the potential to contribute to a bad hire. From the hiring side, employers often miss the mark.

When asked what made them think they had made the wrong decision, employers who have made a bad hire say:

  • While the candidate didn’t have all the needed skills, thought they could learn quickly: 35 percent
  • Candidate lied about his/her qualifications: 33 percent
  • Took a chance on a nice person: 32 percent
  • Pressured to fill the role quickly: 30 percent
  • Had a hard time finding qualified candidates: 29 percent
  • Focused on skills and not attitude: 29 percent
  • Ignored some of the warning signs: 25 percent
  • Lacked adequate tools to find the right person: 10 percent
  • Didn’t do a complete background check: 10 percent
  • Didn’t work close enough with HR: 7 percent

From the employee side, two in three workers (66 percent) say they have accepted a job and later realized it was a bad fit. Half of these workers (50 percent) have quit within six months, but more than a third (37 percent) have stuck it out.

Workers who say they have taken a job only to realize it’s a bad fit say they noticed their mistake based on:

  • Toxic work culture: 46 percent
  • Boss’s management style: 40 percent
  • Job didn’t match what was described in the job listing and interviews: 37 percent
  • A lack of clear expectations around the role: 33 percent

What Makes a Hire Bad

The survey also looks at what constitutes a bad hire. Overall, this is how employers categorize someone as a bad hire:

  • The worker didn’t produce the proper quality of work: 54 percent
  • The worker had a negative attitude: 53 percent
  • The worker didn’t work well with other workers: 50 percent
  • The worker had immediate attendance problems: 46 percent
  • The worker’s skills did not match what they claimed to be able to do when hired: 45 percent

Consequences of Getting It Wrong

While the financial cost of a bad hire is often the focus, a bad hire impacts the business in other ways as well.

“It’s important to note that there’s a ripple affect with bad hires. Disengagement is contagious – poor performers lower the bar for other workers on their teams, and their bad habits spread throughout the organization,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “The best thing hiring managers can do is put in the time and effort on the front end to make sure they have the best available pool of applicants for every job opening. And, just as importantly, have good procedures in place for evaluating candidates.”

When asked how a bad hire affected their business in the last year, employers cite less productivity (37 percent), lost time to recruit and train another worker (32 percent), and compromised quality of work (31 percent).