[Career Coach]: The story behind the cost of a mis-hire

By: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner, eCareerCoaching.com

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Most people get hiring wrong. In fact, research shows that companies get hiring wrong approximately 75% of the time.

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The key is to get the right people on the bus, then find the right seat for them. If you let them, they’ll tell you where they belong.

Now, let’s look at some of the costs that go into hiring someone.

To start with, know that on average it costs about $4,425 to hire someone. Multiply that by 3 if it’s an executive role.

Now let’s say that person does not fit into the culture of your firm, rather than being just a bad fit.

An actual toxic person will wreak all sorts of havoc on your team if you let them. They can cause lost productivity, onboarding costs, and considering the resulting low morale, the cost can be quite high.

This is where the old saying “hire slow, fire fast” comes in. In some instances, it can be seen as a non-intuitive saying. If you fire too fast, then people see that you don’t give people a chance to learn and grow. If you fire too slowly, then these toxic individuals will be retained too long, and can ruin morale, which can and will hurt your company’s culture. When you see that, it’s time to ask these employees to leave.

Again on the other hand, if you fire too quickly, you’ll find that people may become afraid to make mistakes or afraid to try out new ideas. They may turn into “yes people.”

Make sure that you’ve identified and documented all of the good reasons there are to letting someone go. But also identify and work with those that may turn out to be great employees if they maybe find another department to work in, or for a different manager.

Bad behaviour does not happen overnight – there are usually a few reasons it sneaks up on you. Make sure you know why it happened (expect defensiveness on the part of the employee in question when you ask them), and see whether there is a reasonable chance to help them learn the right way to do things.

Respect the company’s culture, but also respect the individual employee as well. $4,425 isn’t pocket change, yet it isn’t going to put you out of business either.

The reason to fire fast is that when someone is messing up the culture, their impact on people is very expensive. The other employees will see that it’s “OK” to act out, or to take time off once in a while, or to help themselves to office equipment. Or to mistreat a demanding customer. Unless that customer has been the responsibility of a number of different employees with none of them being successful, it may even be time to fire a customer.

Any number of things can cause the wrong things to grow.

When your other employees see you take a leadership stand and not allow misbehaving employees or customers to remain with the company, they will feel more trusting, and want to do more in their roles. But if employees see that there are no consequences for bad behavior, they may, or rather will, sooner or later fall into that rythm of behavior themselves.

Hire (more) slowly. Fire faster.


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