The challenges of mis-hires in the workplace – News

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The challenges of mis-hires in the workplace

Posted on: 18 Jul 2019, admin

Little is said about the cost of mis-hires for companies, but the truth is, placing ineffective candidates can be incredibly disruptive and have financial repercussions too. 

Inspired by this article on mis-hires for executive-level roles, we thought we’d create a blog series sharing our thoughts on the subject, and offer advice based on attempts to better manage our own recruitment process. 

To start the series off, we spoke to Managing Director, Nick Peacock, about the challenges and implications of mis-hires in the workplace. It turns out, they’re much more common than you’d think! 

Are mis-hires really that common?

Sadly, mis-hires are very common. According to this report by REC (2017), hiring mistakes are costing UK businesses billions of pounds each year. Two out of five roles are deemed as a mis-hire, a shocking figure that highlights the severity of the situation. 

Why do mis-hires happen in the first place?

Something that is incredibly common is fast-track hiring where businesses rapidly fill roles to address high-employee turnover. This can result in long-term damage, as the employee requires management-level support and is unable to work independently. It can lead to hand-holding, put team players under stress and impact overall staff morale.  

What are the financial ramifications?  

The financial repercussions of poor recruitment decisions are often exorbitant and include money wasted on training, increased staff turnover and lost productivity among the workforce. 

Are there any typical ‘red flags’ businesses can look out for? 

Half of the battle is knowing the difference between an employee that needs support and training (to address a skill gap), compared with an employee that isn’t fit for the role. 

Here are some key signs employers can look out for:

  • Productivity – Are deadlines and key milestones are being met?
  • Team player – Ask other members of the team how the new hire is getting on and whether they are a good fit. 
  • Initiative – Does the new hire require considerable handholding? If so, this demonstrates a lack of confidence and ability. It can become stressful for the colleague offering support and impact their performance. 
  • Engagement – Is the new hire demonstrating a realistic and expected level of enthusiasm and interest in the work? This will be obvious in meetings, 1-2-1’s and collaborative projects.

Do you have any experiences of bad hires? 

Yes, too many to mention, because I’m open to giving people a chance. Sometimes clients give us a very small window to fill a role with, which adds pressure and means we have to act fast. Subsequently our selection process can suffer and the quality of candidates might not be as high.

I have a strict criteria and timescale – if people don’t meet these benchmarks, they leave!

Do temporary contracts reduce the risk of a mis-hire? 

Recruiters can opt for the ‘try before you buy’ approach and offer a temporary contract before agreeing to a long-term arrangement. We’d recommend a minimum of 3–6 months which is the standard probation period, to allow enough time for the new employee to settle in and demonstrate their abilities. 

One month in, employers and managers should consider the following questions:

  • Can the new hire can deliver the skills promised at the interview?
  • Do they have good time-keeping and attendance?
  • Can they meet deadlines and manage their own time and workload accordingly?
  • Do they fit in with the organisation’s culture, environment and ethics? 

Companies should request references from previous employers – this should be a given with the exception of graduates or inexperienced candidates who are interviewing for their first role.  

Watch this space: our next blog post in the series is on ‘How to improve your recruitment strategy and safeguard against mis-hires’ – coming soon!