uk jobs
Reuters

The impact of bad hires on a business bottom line is well documented.

The financial cost of a bad hire can reach as much as 150% of the individuals first year of compensation and up to five times for a bad sales hire. But the real impact is on morale and the company culture.

We have all been in a position when the only topic of office gossip is whisperings about that colleague who clearly isn't right for their role – and how they are bringing down the mood of the whole team because they aren't pulling their weight.

Put simply, a bad hire is toxic for business.

Unfortunately many businesses just view them as a collateral damage of the recruitment process – poor recruits that have just slipped through the corporate net and then have to be exited through an expensive performance management process.

The fact is bad hires increase when the labour market contracts.

With unemployment at a six-year low, it's a candidates market and businesses are feeling the effect with a reduction in applications. When there is a skills shortage, businesses become less discerning and the opportunity for bad hires increases exponentially.

The key is implementing robust recruitment strategies that actively dissuade bad hires. The first step is to minimize vacancies in the first place. People rarely leave for money; they leave because they don't feel valued.

With that in mind, there must be clear development programs for existing staff that recognise and reward valued staff.

If a vacancy does arise, then a business must not rush the recruitment process. Time must be spent defining the recruitment needs – looking at both hard skills and identifying the type of person that will fit in well with the team dynamic and company culture. Attitude is key, skills are the easiest piece to be taught.

It is then imperative to follow a structured hiring process. Ignore 'instincts' and 'the gut' – they can't be trusted when it comes to finding good recruits. People often say what they think you want to hear in interviews, which means that it is very hard to distinguish between people who 'say' they can do a job, and those that actually 'will.'

With that in mind, once candidates have been short-listed there is great value in psychometric testing them to distinguish between the ones that don't just talk the talk, but can actually walk the walk – these tests give insight into what questions should be added in the final interview before an offer is made.

In terms of interviews, we recently undertook research looking at how many interviews businesses asked candidates to complete before making an offer.

In a survey of 1,000 businesses, only 28% of businesses said that they conducted three of more interviews before offering a job.

One in four businesses (25%) admit they hire after only one interview, whilst the majority (47%) interview applicants twice before offering a role.

Even for entry roles, it is recommended to conduct three interviews – to truly ascertain whether someone can be a good fit for the role and company.

When hired, it is then important to ensure that robust on-boarding plans form the final phase of the recruitment process. The right on-boarding plan both sets the expectations of the new employee and gives the manager a process to evaluate the progress of their new prodigy.

Once recruitment processes and procedures are in place bad hires will fall – which will mean savings on the bottom line, as well as an uplift in staff morale.

Shaun Thomson, CEO, Sandler Training in the UK