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May 12, 2017

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A bad hire will cost you. And these days, the price can be hefty

April 13, 2017



The U.S. Department of Labor currently estimates that a bad hiring decision can cost a business 30% of the employee’s first-year potential earnings. For a bad hire with an annual income of $60,000, that equals a potential $18,000 loss for the employer. Depending on the hire, these costs can run into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Expenses can be even higher when you consider the cost and time of replacing that employee, training and orientation, missed sales opportunities and potential legal issues. Considering the cost of a bad hire, here are a few things to remember that will help you bring the right person into the right role in the right amount of time.


Experience and education isn’t everything.

Experience just tells part of a story. It tells what a candidate has done in the past, which is a good starting point for any hiring process. However, when you let experience tip the scales between two candidates, it could result in a premature decision that focuses on the past rather than the future.

The same applies to formal education. While a candidate may have had a stellar academic career with fancy degrees from elite institutions, this does not necessarily mean a candidate is capable of learning and growing with your organization. Classroom performance does not always result in a similar workplace performance.

Rather than asking: What has this candidate done? You should be asking yourself…

What will this candidate do for me now?


Dig deeper and beyond the first impression.

Sure, a great interview is impressive. However, sometimes people can make an amazing first impression, but their performance in the workplace leaves much to be desired. This is why it is important to achieve an insightful grasp of a candidate’s qualities and competencies before making the decision to hire. Don’t be won over because a candidate is telling you everything you want to hear. Rather than have them tell you, make them convince you.

Ask them about a time they broke the rules. Ask them about a time they did something different from everyone else. Ask them about the best moment they’ve had in their careers. Ask them to describe a time where he or she worked as part of a team. Ask them about what motivates them and what they hope to achieve in their professional lives.

Through their answers, you delve deeper into an applicant’s ability to fit into your corporate culture. Instead of taking their word for it that they are hard-working and ambitious employees, you will be convinced because you now know about the time the candidate went above and beyond to meet a sales goal in record time – or not. You get to decide.


There’s only so much training you can give someone.

You can teach someone a new skill, but you can’t teach them how to problem solve, build a new product, or manage a team of people and manage it well. Training is certainly important, but not everyone possesses the potential to absorb what is being taught to them and capable to applying it in their work. No matter how thorough the instruction is, the potential of an employee rarely improves with additional training.

To avoid investing time, money, and resources into an employee without productive return, it is crucial to select the right candidate with innate potential and abilities who will thrive in that particular position.

Training is meant to appeal to an individual’s inner abilities. It is supposed to provide an employee with the tools he or she needs to succeed. However, whether he or she succeeds is dependent on that individual’s potential. So in the hiring process, select the candidate with the potential to learn, adapt, and grow rather than settling for the candidate who will always ride with training wheels.


Aim to create a balanced team.

It’s easy to like people who you share things in common with. However, when you are hiring in your own image, you are creating an imbalanced team. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. When the workplace functions as an organization, everyone has a different role to play. And this is a good thing. A mixture of different talents and personalities facilitates a balanced work environment. It’s nice to like everyone you work with, but the goal is not to hire someone you work well with, but someone who works well with the organization as a whole.


Potential beats second-rate experience.

Many employers believe that pirating an employee from a competitor will save money on training a new employee. However, this is a misconception. Consider this: Why would an individual be willing to give up seniority and other benefits without a significantly enticing offer? If what you are offering them is comparable, then this calls into question the wisdom of pirating an employee. When things sound too good to be true, it often is.

You don’t want to be in a position of taking a mediocre employee from your competitor. Despite the allure of packaged experience, in the long term, the cost of training a promising candidate is more worthwhile and profitable than the savings of hiring a lackluster, but adequate candidate. Although there are exceptions, you should consider hiring from a competition only when it is doing them an enormous favor.


Cultural fit can determine a candidate’s success.

While some candidates look perfect on paper, this does not necessarily translate to a good cultural fit. An individual’s ability to fit within the culture of the organization is just as important as other qualifications such as education, experience, and technical abilities. You must consider not only a candidate’s capability as an individual, but how this employee will interact with colleagues, clients, and customers. Does the candidate work well in a collaborative environment? Does he or she share the same values and mission as the company? The answers to these types of questions can help provide insight to whether an individual will have the motivation to succeed and thrive within the culture of the organization.


Have a structured hiring process that will efficiently bring in the right people.

Hiring the wrong people can potentially cost a company thousands of dollars. Not only does it consume time and resources, it could also harm the reputation of an individual or company and can incur bleeding costs into litigation. Therefore, establishing a structured hiring process will cut down on the time it takes to onboard the right candidate. Having a standardized timeline will ensure the right steps are taken on both ends and facilitates a clear channel of communication.

Do whatever it takes to hire the right person the first time. It may take a little more time and resources to make sure everything is done on fairgrounds and in a uniform fashion, but cutting corners may cost a company more money and time than it is worth. Remember that hiring the right candidate takes time. The most important asset to any business is in its people.


Help new hires reach their potential with a thorough onboarding program.

Not only should there be a structured hiring process in place, but there should also be a solid onboarding program. It is important to provide new hires with a thorough orientation and training program to give them the tools to succeed. Even though training isn’t everything, for the right hire, it could allow them to hit the ground running. They will more likely feel engaged and productive, which can motivate them to contribute more to the team and help them reach their peak potential.

The bottom line is this: When selecting a candidate, you’re looking for potential. And when you find it, do whatever it takes to grow, invest, and develop that talent for the success of the company.

Finding that “potential” is a tricky business. It can be hidden in the resumes of the less experienced or apparent in those of seasoned individuals in their respective industries. It can be found in those with a fancy degree, but it can also be surprisingly absent in the most decorated scholar. Potential itself is a quality that is not always easy to discern, especially on paper and even so in person. For this reason, it benefits employers that their hiring process is carefully, patiently, and expertly done.

Remember: No hire is better than a bad hire.



Superian Sources has more than 30 years of combined resources and candidate sourcing/placement expertise. We utilize our extensive networks in our drive to match the right talent with open opportunities. We design successful partnerships, placing the right candidates with the right assets into the body of growing and dynamic organizations in Accounting/Finance, Sales and Marketing, IT, HR, Administrative Support, Engineering, and Executive and Senior Management.


Please contact Superian Sources to learn more about how we can help you hire right the first time. Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at

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