Ahhh! It’s happened again. What seemed like a good hiring decision, in the beginning, has blown up in your face, as you’re starting to see signs you missed the hiring mark again. The candidate that sold you during the interview process is now your employee that has been late on the regular, has been the center of conflict on project teams, has an excuse for everything or needs to be taught many tasks in which he or she claimed to have mastery. Maybe you can’t put your finger on the exact issue, but whenever you walk into a Starbucks and happen to see your new hire standing in line, you want to duck into the bathroom and avoid conversation. That’s a bad hire. 

According to Glassdoor commissioned research by Brandon Hall Group, 95% of employers surveyed admitted to making hiring mistakes by recruiting the wrong people each year. Where are you, and many others, going wrong? 

It’s a question many hiring managers ask. Hiring decisions are often made in less than ideal circumstances like when the position must be filled right away to keep up with productivity demands or when a recruiting team is after incentives as the main priority, or when a company’s available role descriptions are ambiguous for applicants and managers interpreting them.

While you can find lots of quantitative research on the cost to hire new employees and replace employees, there’s less data on the costs incurred from hiring a “wrong fit” employee. One study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found it could cost up to five times the amount of a bad hire’s annual salary. 

Another of the report’s findings, one you might have observed in your organization first hand, is that “bad fit” hires have an impact in four specific areas: Productivity, Retention, Performance, and Culture. Bad hires produce lower caliber work than high performers and delay company goals. They’re also more likely to abandon ship or cause other employees to leave. An underperformer can add weight and dysfunction to a team by not delivering his or her share of productivity or in misaligned communication skills. 

To get to the heart of why you’re making bad hiring decisions and change the pattern, you’ll need to put your hiring process under the microscope and spend effort refining it. In doing so, you could transform a huge liability (hiring duds) into one of your biggest competitive strengths (hiring rockstars).

 Examine your hiring process. Take a close look at what’s happening from when you first begin sourcing new job candidates all the way to onboarding your newly selected employees. 

Where are you getting your candidates?

Are you pulling in candidates from outside the organization as opposed to promoting someone internally? More studies are showing greater retention rates and productivity when new positions are filled from within. Some companies spend a lot of effort trying to acquire talent by hiring outside candidates with stellar resumes to fill open positions thinking they’ll save on the costs to develop existing employees. But the costs can become tenfold by way of lower retention rates and low morale. LinkedIn data indicates that the most common reason employees consider leaving a job is career advancement. Opening up vacant positions to your existing employees who’ve prepared on your watch, could be a  link to a longer employee lifespan across all positions and hire ROI. 

How can you standardize your interview process? 

Conversational improvised interviews might seem like a good idea since this type of engagement puts both the interviewer and the candidate at ease, but research shows that structured interviews are 81% more accurate than unstructured ones. Save the organic conversation for another part of the evaluation process. 

Get a clearer sense of how the applicant would perform in the role compared with other applicants by creating an equal evaluation playing field for each candidate. 


Use a clear script in which the applicants are asked the same interview questions, which all center around specific core competencies. This helps keep the interview on track and provides consistency for candidates to be compared fairly. Select questions that assess conflict management to get an idea of how your candidates would handle frustrated customers and challenging team environments. How a person performs under pressure is a key differentiator when all other skills appear to be equal. 


Train your interviewers. For many people, interviewing well does not come naturally. Most interviewers have a tendency to respond well to energetic and engaging candidates, or candidates that have similar communication styles to their own. Train your interviewers (and yourself, if you’re the one interviewing) to become self-aware of how their communication style can be interpreted. Teach interviewers to communicate in a way that encourages each candidate to feel comfortable to respond with authenticity.. Then you can be more confident that applicants are providing accurate feedback for you to asses no matter who conducts the interview. 

Add Variety to your Evaluation Process

It might seem like an oxymoron that we suggest adding variety while urging standardization. What we mean is, it should become standard practice to include a variety of avenues to collect feedback about a candidate during the evaluation process. 

Multiple Interviewers – Have a few people in your company interview candidates that make it beyond the first round, even if it’s another employee in the same department. Your employees are going to be working with your new hire every day. You want to make sure the candidate you select fits within your team dynamics. 

Environmental Assessment – This can be a trial day on the job or a simulated scenario that can assess how an applicant might perform in their role should they be hired. Pre-Hire assessments like PXT Select help interviewers glean information about environmental and situational behavior patterns and the aptitudes each candidate possesses. Environmental assessments give the hiring team a chance to see measurable data about how each applicant would handle job responsibilities and similar situations. While interviewing can only provide qualitative information, if you combine it with your version of environmental assessment, you’ll come out of the evaluation process having accurately identified the skill level of each candidate. You may even uncover highly unique attributes that qualifies one candidate over another. 

Do you want to avoid the wasted time, money, and stress that making bad hiring decisions causes? Make it a priority to standardize your hiring process to include core elements which will reduce the number of bad hires and increase performance when the right person joins the team. 


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