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June 26, 2017

The Not-So-Obvious Costs of a BAD HIRE

In the business world, we constantly hear about the “Cost of a Bad Hire” and how detrimental it can be for any business – small or large.  But what we fail to realize is how we aren’t affected by solely the financial cost of hiring the wrong person.  We get so swept up in dollar signs and “the bottom line” that we forget there is much more that goes in to the downfalls of a bad hire.

As a Human Resources professional with a specialization in Recruitment, I hear time and time again, “Well, a warm body is better than no body.”  But I am here to tell you that I, with respect, wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. In most cases, a “warm body,” or a bad hire, is astronomically worse than having a vacant position or terminating a poorly performing employee or someone that just DOES NOT FIT!

Growing up on sports teams of every kind, I learned very early in life that it does not matter how AWESOME of a third baseman I am, or how INCREDIBLE my center-fielder is if the rest of the team HATES playing softball, or if everyone on my team cannot stand to walk past me in the grocery store, let alone be on the same team as me.  The workplace is identical. Here are five reasons why a bad hire in the workplace is the exact same situation as having an athlete that just doesn’t belong on your team.

The Team

You have a high-functioning team that works well together – then you throw in the WORLD’S GREATEST Pitcher – who has a terrible attitude, thinks he or she is better than the rest of the team, cannot communicate, or just thinks the world revolves around the pitching mound. Your ENTIRE team is going to fail.  A team is a group of individuals that works together to identify one another’s strengths and weaknesses to come together as a whole to focus on each individual’s strengths and to improve each individual’s weaknesses.  You are only as strong as your weakest link, right?

One person can completely destroy a team – in softball or in business.  Morale will go straight down the drain, irritation and frustration goes through the roof, and soon enough you will start losing your key players.

The Fans – Our Customers 

Have you ever been to a baseball game, football game, or any sporting event for that matter, and while watching this awesome team you realize that the “star player” that everyone has been talking about is screaming and yelling at the other players, the coach, or the umpire?  It kind of makes you not want to watch the game anymore. As fans, we watch sports to enjoy the game, not watch someone with a bad attitude take it out on an undeserving bystander.

In business, our fans are our customers.  One bad employee, whether it is attitude, performance, or lack of consideration, will cost us our customers day in and day out.  Have you ever had a problem with your phone bill and called the phone company, only to be put on hold 15 times, then when you finally get to talk to the right person, they have a terrible attitude, act like you are incompetent, and treat you like the dirt on the bottom of their shoe? I bet you switched your phone service provider pretty quick, didn’t you? Why would we cost ourselves our greatest asset – our customers – just because we need to fill a position?

The Coaches – Management

Have you ever worked with someone who is late to work three days a week? Maybe it is someone who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that, don’t worry.” Then two weeks later, you realize that he or she did not “take care of that.”  Maybe you have heard the phrase, “It is easier to do it myself than to have to go back and fix what someone else did.”

When we hire the wrong person, our coaches (managers) have to constantly go back and reteach, or fix, the problems that the bad hire continues to make.  Our managers spend countless hours trying to work their way back through problems that could have been avoided if it had just been done the right way the first time.  Not to mention, performance reviews, write-ups, counseling sessions, heart to heart talks, and so much more.  On top of all that, our managers then have to go and have heart to heart talks with the other team members to try to lighten the situation or keep steam from coming out of their ears with frustration.


Don’t we love hearing that our all-time favorite baseball team just traded our favorite player for the guy from across the country that NO ONE LIKES? Ha! Yeah right! But what happens when our coaches (managers) start adding more and more players to the team that have horrible attitudes, terrible work ethic, absolutely no morals, or they just do not get along with the rest of the team? Our coaches get a HORRIBLE reputation. The team suffers, the fans suffer, and soon enough, the owners are the ones looking to replace the coach.

Everyone makes mistakes now and then. This is life. It happens.  Bad hires are GOING to happen.  But if our Managers make bad hire after bad hire after bad hire – the team starts to see the stars align and realize that maybe he or she is NOT the best one for the job.  No one wants to be the coach (manager) that has the reputation of being incompetent or “horrible” at their job.  After so many bad hires, it won’t be much longer before the owners start looking for a replacement for the hiring manager.


In basketball, if your team turns the ball over EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. they touch the ball, it is very unlikely that your team in going to secure the W. How can your team get ahead if every time you get a shot to score, you give the ball back to our opponent?  No surprise here – same thing in the business world.  When we are constantly turning over employees, we are losing them to our OPPONENTS. There go our secrets, our strategies, and our shot at scoring.  There is no way to get ahead in the game if we can’t keep the ball in our court.


Game Winning Shot

The cost of a bad hire doesn’t just mean dollar signs down the drain – it means you are losing the best part about your business – your team.  It may not seem like it right now, but when one team member does not belong, your team members, customers, coaches, reputation, and owners ALL suffer.

Take your time when making hiring decisions, hire a Professional Recruiting Firm to assist in your recruiting efforts, and read the signs when they start to reveal themselves.  Don’t let one person cost you the game or the rest of your season.  Know your team, know your managers, know your customers.  That is how you will know how to make the best hiring decisions for your team!


Staci Davis, Priority Professional Group

Email Staci here or call Priority Staffing Group at (618) 969-8800 for all your staffing and recruiting needs.

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