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The foolishness of bad hiring

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Many small business owners end up as fools because they hire badly. These bad hiring decisions cost thousands of dollars in profits. What business can afford to stay in business when they continue to hire the wrong people or the right people continue to quit creating more potential wrong hires?

Last year Career Builder conducted a study on the impact of bad hires and revealed some troubling statistics not to mention costs.

Of the firms participating, 69% admitted to making a bad hire within the last year. For 41% of those businesses, the estimated cost for this negative decision was over $25,000. Another 24% of those reporting said hiring the wrong person cost the bottom line more than $50,000.

The cost of bad hire extends beyond the physically hiring including running the advertisement to interviewing. If this decision is made in error, other areas of the small business are affected including:

• Productivity

• Training

• Employee morale

• Culture of the small business

• Customer relationships

• Legal issues

So what are some of the consistent characteristics of a bad hire? The top issue at 67% appeared to be the inability of the new employee to produce quality of work. Not working well with others was the second top characteristic at 60%. Then negative attitude (59%) was third with attendance at 54%. Finally, the fifth top issue was customer complaints about the employee at 44%.

These firms identified the reasons behind the bad hires. These reasons appeared to be more reactive and suggested a lack of alignment between strategies, structure, processes, rewards and people.

With the fluidity of the workforce, having jobs filled quickly was identified as the major reason for bad hires at 43%. Then not having enough talent intelligence such as gathered through assessments was second at 22%. Many firms still do not engage in using proper assessment to ensure a match between the potential employee, the position and the enterprise’s culture.

The outsourcing and recruiting process followed at 13% and 10%. Not following an internal process of checking references was at 9%.

When working with clients years ago, I created a worksheet to itemize the cost of a new hire so that this awareness would generate an even more careful decision. Of course since we are dealing with humans beings, mistakes are made even when all the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted.

Maybe it may make sense to hire for the fit within the enterprise first and then develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and talents (SKAT) necessary for that particular role? Whatever method is employed, the employer should not be a fool by having a bad hiring process because who can afford in these economic times thousands of dollars in lost profits?

P.S. Shout Out – Great Italian meals at Giovanni’s in Munster and Popolano’s in Chesterton.



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