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10 Reasons Why HR Professionals Make Bad Hires

To say that talent acquisition professionals have been busy the past few years is an understatement. As the job market fluctuates, employers have been on a consistent hiring wheel.

But, experienced recruiters know that occasionally a bad hire will be made. According to LinkedIn,

  • The average cost of a bad hire is 30 percent of their salary.
  • Eighty-nine percent of recruiters say that bad hires typically lack soft skills.
  • Forty-three percent of companies got “stuck” with bad hires because they had urgent hiring needs.
  • Forty-four percent of CFOs say that bad hires negatively impact the team’s morale.
  • Another study found that bad hires can result in a 32 percent decrease in morale and a 36 percent decrease in productivity.

Keep reading to learn ten reasons why HR professionals make bad hires. Plus, how to avoid them.

1. Filling Positions Out of Desperation

Desperation rarely yields good results, and it’s no different with hiring qualified candidates. When companies are growing quickly or need to meet an urgent deadline, it’s tempting to just hire anyone, even if they’re not a job or culture fit (or both). This approach to hiring can cause you to make a bad hire – failing to serve your company in any way.

2. Not Being Specific in Your Job Ads

Additionally, failing to be specific in your job ads can attract the wrong candidates.  Instead of getting “any old” job description out there, take the time to think about your ideal candidate.

  • What are the skills you need?
  • What skills would be nice to have?
  • What about attitudes and character traits?
  • How would they add to your company’s culture?

Having a well-thought-out, detailed job description will put you on the right foot when attracting qualified candidates.

3. Advertising Open Jobs in the Wrong Places

Now, assume your job and communicate exactly what you need.  However, if you advertise your job opening in all the wrong places, you won’t attract qualified talent. And you’re wasting time and money.

Understand where you can find top performers.

  • What social media channels do they use?
  • What local community or professional groups do they frequent?
  • Talk to other industry leaders or recruiters to learn more about their positive hiring experiences.

4. Prioritizing Hard Skills Over Soft Skills

While hard skills are necessary for any role, some recruiters may stop there without looking further at soft skills. Remember the statistic from above?  Eighty-nine percent of recruiters say that bad hires typically lack soft skills, according to LinkedIn. That is quite a telling stat.

During the hiring process, recruiters can use objective skills assessments, measuring both hard and soft skills. After all, you can teach hard skills, but it’s more challenging to teach soft skills, such as resilience or collaboration.

5. Failing to Conduct Standardized Interviews

In addition to failing to measure both hard and soft skills, many recruiters fail to conduct standardized interviews. This gives rise to unconscious biases while lessening the chance of hiring the right candidate.

Through standardized interviews, HR professionals can reduce potential bias, make consistent hiring decisions faster, and improve the candidate’s experience. It all leads to hiring the right candidate at the right time.

6. Neglecting to Check References

Checking a job candidate’s references may seem like just another to-do on your list, but it’s necessary to confirm your hires’ qualifications.

According to a recent study reported by CNBC, 78 percent of job candidates lie on job applications or their resume. This ranges from exaggerating their grade point average to stating a mastery of skills that they simply don’t have.

But what’s more shocking? Sixty-six percent of hiring managers aren’t bothered by these misstatements. In other words, these hiring managers accept these lapses in ethics.

Checking a job candidate’s referencing can help weed out these bad hires, so they do not have more lapses in ethics once employed at your organization.

7. Ignoring Your Employer Brand

Organizations may inadvertently be attracting bad hires through a weak mission statement, a vague employee value proposition, and an underdeveloped (or under-communicated) workplace culture.

For example, if your culture encourages (and rewards) employees for being accountable, and you don’t emphasize that accountability in your employer brand, you may attract job candidates with weaker accountability skills. This negatively impacts your employer’s brand and reputation.

8. Failing to Measure Performance Early

Depending on your company’s size, bad hires may not reveal themselves right away. In a small company, bad hires are evident almost immediately. However, in larger organizations, it may be more difficult for bad hires to emerge.

Measuring performance and outcomes sooner rather than later is critical to identifying a potential bad hire, as well as identifying opportunities early on to rectify any performance issues.

9. Hiring Too Quickly or Too Slowly

The timing of making the right hire is often governed by a litany of factors, such as organizational need or the number of candidates that apply. However, most HR professionals have been caught in the see-saw of hiring too fast or hiring too slowly.

Hiring out of desperation never works out well. Getting warm bodies in seats is not typically a stellar hiring strategy. However, dragging out the recruiting process doesn’t work well for companies either. Simply, qualified, ideal candidates may get tired of waiting and move on to another offer.

10. Firing Too Slowly

Finally, once you’ve identified a bad hire, you may be reluctant to terminate their employment timely for numerous reasons, from the employee’s personal situation to company thoughts that this hire is a sunk cost, meaning you can’t recover the money spent on recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

However, keeping a bad hire in the company roles can negatively impact your team. This leads to increased turnover, decreased productivity, and decreased morale. And it negatively affects your company both financially and culturally.


This post was originally published by Cangrade.

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