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Can You Dig It

The cost of a bad hire really adds up

Courtesy of Robert Half International
Courtesy of Robert Half International

The cost of a bad hire, that person your company hires who just doesn't work out, can be quite costly.

For small to mid-sized companies, that cost can result in many hours of lost time, increased stress and the creation of a negative workplace culture.

That’s according to a national survey released by Robert Half International, which found as many as 81 percent of small and mid-sized business owners and managers acknowledged making a bad hire and 49 percent believe most hiring managers underestimate the complexity of the hiring process.

It’s hard to tell exactly how new candidates will fare in your workplace.

Not everyone fits into the company’s culture or demonstrates the ability to adapt to the policies, practices or environment in your workplace. Their skills, meanwhile, are an entire other set of criteria.

It’s a problem that appears to be widespread.

“I think it’s definitely a problem across the board,” said Jeanie Sharp, regional vice president of Robert Half’s Pennsylvania and Delaware markets, which include the Greater Lehigh Valley. “We are in a very, very tight candidate market.”

The problem stems from the hiring process itself and that there is a lot more competition for highly skilled candidates.

As an example, the unemployment rate for finance and accounting professionals is about 2 percent nationally, and the Greater Lehigh Valley is along those lines as well, Sharp said.

The unemployment rate is low and the hiring process is faster. Hiring managers often are pressed for time and make a rush decision, she said.

They could also not be paying attention to the right criteria, such as the person’s work ethic, and they might have job requirements that are too rigid, Sharp said.

Other highlights of the survey of business owners and managers:

• 76 percent said a recruiter helped them find a hire they couldn’t find on their own.

• 45 hours were wasted on hiring and onboarding people who ultimately didn’t fit.

• 53 percent reported increased stress on the team that worked with the bad hire.

• 20 percent cited decreased confidence in the manager’s ability to make good hiring decisions.

• 17 weeks. That’s how long it took for managers and owners to realize they made a bad hire and fix it.

So it falls on companies to adjust their view on hiring. They need to be more flexible in their requirements and pay attention to how the candidate would fit into the company’s culture.

Even if candidates don’t have the desired experience, they may demonstrate a strong desire to learn and have a good work ethic.

Having both shows they can go far in any company.

For a look at the survey, see here

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