How to prevent a bad hire: 5 Ways

Did you know that a bad hire can cost you nearly 30% or more of the employee’s earnings in the first year, as per the Department of Labor?

In addition, there are several potential threats to making a wrong hiring decision. From productivity to team environment to digital security, the cost of a bad hire creates a ripple effect in the organization.

Recruitment plays a strategic role in sourcing and influencing the decision of hiring talent in any organization. Whether a beginner or a seasoned professional, any company’s average cost per hire (CPH) easily ranges between $3900 – $4500.

Rule of Thumb remains- the higher the position in the organization, the higher the cost per hire.

How much will a bad hire cost you?

The average cost per hire + time + salary of the position + cost of the vacancy + productivity + training cost + infrastructure cost + morale = Much more than the basic CPH.

34% of CFOs believe that it hurt their productivity and nearly 17% to 20% of managers had to spend time managing poor-performing employees.

However, it beckons us to think how we can avoid, if not eliminate, making a bad hire.

Comprehensive Recruitment Strategy

Having a well-structured recruitment process and strategy can help in reducing the chances of a bad hire. First, however, companies must lay down all the functions and make it a data-driven activity rather than rely on a gut instinct.

Imagine the hours of work you put in – sourcing, screening, interviewing, and rolling out the offer, only to see the person leave, leaving you high and dry. Nearly 70% of hiring decisions are made on intuition than real data and statistics. The first step of a comprehensive recruitment strategy is to lay down the hiring process


Structured Onboarding

A negative onboarding experience can increase the chances of new hires looking out for other opportunities. According to Sapling, 93% of employers believe a good onboarding process is a key to retaining candidates. Unfortunately, several companies do not have a structured onboarding application process. As a result, there is little accountability, insufficient internal resources, and no timelines.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Outline a comprehensive buddy program
  • Structure a week-long onboarding and induction program with an emphasis on cross-functional onboarding too.
  • Divide the onboarding experience into broad categories – Operational, Social, and Strategic.


Companies have to make it as inclusive as possible. Almost 20% of employees leave within 45 days of joining if they have a poor onboarding experience.

Background Check

Background checks play a crucial role in avoiding bad hires. Conversely, a laidback and lackadaisical attitude in conducting a background check hamper the growth of an organization.

Prepare a list of:

  • A list of traits and characteristic you are looking for in a new employee
  • Layout the parameters required to make your background check robust. Specific categories – Education check, bank account verification, employment verification, criminal background check, reference check, social media proof, etc., are some factors we must consider.

A lopsided background check can increase your bad hire cost as you will miss out on red flags that could clear with a comprehensive assessment. Hiring an external agency helps you to reduce your workload and get an unbiased market opinion and check.

Behavioral Assessment

Some candidates are naturally talkative or quiet; however, it does not serve as a basis for disqualification. However, if you notice the candidate getting restless, in a hurry to leave, not answering questions concisely, giving vague answers, etc., you might have to rethink hiring that person.

Invest in innovative testing tools such as skill competency mapping, conducting comprehensive behavioral interviews, technical skills, etc., to promote a healthy hiring plan. Asking questions around conflict management and resolution, peer pressure, team management, how they handled their own mistake, disagreements with supervisor, etc., will help you delve a little deeper into understanding their responses.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.’

Red Flags

During the interview process, you will notice hiring red flags while conversing with the candidate. Some danger signs to look out –

  • Badmouthing their current employer.
  • Not able to justify the reason for leaving.
  • Unable to justify the gaps between jobs.
  • Constantly coming back to the salary expectations.
  • Trying to get through the interview process quickly.
  • Not making direct eye contact and deviating from the questions.

Some other areas that should raise a question include anger management or stress management issues, impatient communication, etc. These red flags often show themselves during different stages of the interview. But, again, a robust hiring and interview process can pick these red flags and help you prevent a bad hire.  

In Summation

We might not be able to eliminate hiring the wrong person for the job, but with robust processes, we can prevent one from happening. As per CareerBuilder Survey, nearly 75% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume. It speaks volumes about the attention to detail HR, and recruitment teams follow during the hiring process.

However, while it is vital to be proactive, it is also essential to make sure you have the right tools. Although we ought to avoid hiring the wrong talent, we also need to focus on the existing employees’ performance and leverage their skills to match your organizational goals and competency.

Happy Hiring!

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