< Back to news

How to avoid a hiring mistake

By Emma Tee on

It’s a candidate’s market. 

Over the past couple of years, you will likely have heard us banging on about talent shortage and this has only been heightened in recent months. The recession kickstarted the shortage and had a real impact on the availability of candidates. Understandably, companies put a freeze on hiring meaning that entry-level jobs became a thing of the past which resulted in a shortage of those sitting at manager level a few years later. That, combined with a sprinkling of a pandemic where companies, again, put a freeze on hiring has taken us to where we are now. 

People are few and far between, even compared to 18 months ago. They’re staying put and if they do decide to move, they know that they’re in demand. They have the skills that employers are calling out for and, ultimately, hold the power. Because of the shortage, it’s likely that anyone you’re interviewing will be interviewing with more than one company, will receive more than one offer, and will probably receive a counter offer somewhere along the line too. 

Needless to say, it’s a mixture that has resulted in frustrations and those frustrations have been acted upon. Oftentimes, employers make speedy hiring decisions, making offers out of desperation rather than suitability. People are stretched to a point where they’re stacked with more work they can handle, desperate for someone to be sitting at the empty chair staring back at them in the office. We understand how it happens. In fact, 85% of respondents of a REC survey said that they have worked in businesses that have made bad hiring decisions and further evidence shows that 2 out of 5 hires turn out to be ‘bad’ within the first 18 months. This proves that you’re certainly not alone if you’ve taken on someone that isn’t quite right! Everyone makes a mistake now and again, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. 

You may think that a bad hire is just that, a bad hire, but it’s not. Hiring the wrong person can have a significant impact, not only on you as an employer or manager, but also on the team, culture, morale, productivity, and reputation. And let us not forget the costs associated with it too! Many think that a poor hire only costs their salary and the recruitment fee, if you’ve paid one, but that’s not the case. According to research, it’s said that hiring the wrong person actually costs over three times that person’s salary – on average it’s said that it costs close to £100,000! That figure takes into account how long the hiring process has taken, training and development, and the potential problems having the wrong person in the team can cause. It’s staggering and a costly mistake that you won’t want to make again.

As we mentioned before, it’s what you do after a bad hire that matters. It’s essential that you take a step back and think of the mistakes that were made. You may think that you didn’t make any mistakes, which is fine, but there will be reasons as to why it didn’t work out from both sides of the coin. Dig around, think of it from both perspectives and try your hardest to pinpoint why they weren’t ‘the one’. Take some time to reflect and ask:

  • Could we have done better at the recruitment stage?
  • Did the job advert and job description correctly depict the role?
  • Did the right people attend the interview?
  • Did we ask the right questions at the interview?
  • Did the interview reflect our culture, ethos, and how we operate?
  • Did we rush the hiring process?
  • Did we consider other applicants?
  • Did we verify their skills and obtain references?
  • Were there any hesitations at the hiring stage, if so what were they?
  • Could the induction process be improved?
  • Did the person fit in culturally?
  • Did the person understand what was expected of them?
  • Did we do all we could to support them?
  • Did we offer training?
  • Did we offer constructive feedback?
  • Did we request their feedback?
  • Did we listen to their concerns, or did they listen to ours?
  • Did we allow them to stay in the role for too long?
  • What impact has it had?
  • How can we avoid making a bad hire in the future?

It might seem like an extensive list of questions, but hopefully, it’ll help you get to the nitty-gritty of the problems and avoid another costly hiring hiccup. It’s vital that you answer each question as honestly as possible and try not to lay the blame entirely on the person you hired, it’s the only way you’re going to make improvements for next time. 

We also want to point out that we know the last question in that pile is a hard one to answer, but if you want our advice then the answer usually lies in your hiring process – and if you need help with that or are looking to expand your marketing or creative team you know where to find us