I think I made a bad hire: Mitigation strategies

‍by Guest Writers: Karel Sousek & Verónica Borrero

Image Source: Unsplash

Hiring the right candidate is a critical process in any organization. However, even the most meticulous recruitment efforts can sometimes result in poor hiring decisions. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of the hiring process, explore the potential pitfalls, and offer strategies for making successful hires.

1. Understanding the Cost of a Bad Hire

Hiring the wrong person can be an expensive mistake. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be up to 30% of the employee’s annual salary 1. But the financial impact is just the tip of the iceberg. A poor hire can also negatively impact team morale and productivity, and even damage your company’s reputation.

1.1 Financial Implication

The financial implications of a bad hire extend beyond the employee’s salary. There are additional recruitment costs, lost productivity, and potential for lost business. In some industries, the cost of poor client service due to an underperforming employee can be even higher than the recruitment costs.

1.2 Impact on Morale and Productivity

A bad hire can create a ripple effect throughout the team. Other employees may have to shoulder additional responsibilities, leading to increased stress and decreased productivity. The overall team morale can also take a hit, especially if the poor hire is in a leadership position.

1.3 Damage to Reputation

A poor hire can also tarnish your company’s reputation. This can occur both internally, as employees lose faith in the hiring process, and externally, as customers and clients experience subpar service.

2. Identifying a Bad Hire

Identifying a bad hire is the first step towards rectifying the situation. But how do you know if you’ve made a poor hiring decision?

2.1 Poor Performance

Poor performance is the most obvious indicator of a bad hire. If an employee is consistently failing to meet expectations, it may be a sign that they’re not a good fit for the role.

2.2 Negative Impact on the Team

A bad hire can also have a detrimental effect on the team dynamics. If an employee is causing conflicts or creating a negative atmosphere, it could be indicative of a poor hiring decision.

2.3 Frequent Job Changes

Frequent job changes on an employee’s resume can be a red flag. It might suggest a lack of resilience, indicating that the employee is likely to leave when the going gets tough.

3. Strategies for Handling a Bad Hire

If you’ve identified a bad hire, it’s important to address the issue promptly. Here are some strategies for dealing with a poor hiring decision.

3.1 Use the Onboarding Process as a Probation Period

The onboarding process offers an opportunity to assess whether the new hire is a good fit for the role and the organization. It allows the hiring managers to evaluate the new employee against the job requirements and provides the new hire with clear expectations.

3.2 Open Communication

Open and direct communication is key when dealing with a bad hire. Discussing the issues early on can help to rectify the situation and can potentially transform a bad hire into a valuable team member.

3.3 Implement a Performance Improvement Plan

If the new hire’s performance does not improve after direct feedback and support, consider implementing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This plan should outline specific, measurable expectations for the employee’s performance and behaviour.

3.4 Consider Reassignment

Reassignment could be a viable solution if the employee shows a good work ethic but lacks the essential skills for the role. This option only works if there’s a suitable vacancy within the organization that matches the employee’s skill set.

3.5 Termination

If all else fails, termination might be the only option. If you decide to terminate the employee, it’s crucial to follow the proper legal procedures to protect your company against potential legal action.

4. Preventing Bad Hires

Preventing bad hires is much easier (and less costly) than dealing with them. Here are some strategies to improve your hiring process.

4.1 Clear Job Descriptions

A clear and detailed job description is the first step to attracting the right candidates. It should outline the skills, qualifications, and experience required for the role. This can help candidates to self-select, reducing the likelihood of unsuitable applicants.

4.2 Comprehensive Interview Process

A comprehensive interview process can help to identify potential red flags before a hiring decision is made. Consider including behavioural and situational questions to assess how the candidate would handle specific scenarios. Also, pay attention to the candidate’s attitude and how they talk about their previous employers and roles.

4.3 Use of Assessments

Assessments can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s skills, abilities, and personality traits. They can help to predict how well a candidate will perform in the role and how they will fit into the team and the company culture.

4.4 Thorough Reference Checks

Reference checks can provide an additional layer of validation. Past employers and colleagues can offer insights into the candidate’s work ethic, reliability, and interpersonal skills.

5. Using our Proven Process 

In today’s fast-paced business world, finding the right talent is crucial for success. While technology has revolutionized the way we approach hiring, it’s essential to strike the perfect balance between automation and human expertise. At CSS, we understand the importance of both. That’s why our comprehensive services go beyond simply implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS) for your company.


With CSS, you can reclaim your valuable time while ensuring top-notch hires. Our dedicated team of at least 5 professionals will work closely with you to manage your applicant pool. From crafting detailed job ads to conducting assessments and pre-screening candidates, we’ve got you covered. Our experts will provide you with invaluable data and insights, reducing your hiring process time by a staggering 75%.


Rest assured that with CSS, you’ll only engage with pre-screened candidates who are likely to be an excellent fit for your team. Say goodbye to countless hours spent sifting through resumes and conducting initial interviews. Let us take care of the nitty-gritty, so you can focus on what truly matters – building a winning team that propels your business forward.

6. Conclusion

While hiring can be a complex process, it’s critical to get it right. A bad hire can have far-reaching implications for your organization, affecting everything from team morale to your bottom line. By implementing thorough hiring processes, leveraging technology, and addressing poor hires promptly, you can make successful hires and build a strong, productive team.

The solution is to make good hires using assessments and a good interview process. Discover how CSS can transform your hiring process today.


1: U.S. Department of Labor, “The Cost of Bad Hiring Decisions,” 2018

2. Contractor Staffing Source Process. 


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Paul Sanneman
Founder & President

With over 40 years of experience, Paul has created several business coaching companies and consulted more than 400 construction companies. Contractor Staffing Source is the product of this experience and his most profound inspiration, as well as a solution to the most common issue his clients face; finding good people.Paul’s dedication to working with residential contractors stems from his belief that they are the most exciting and ethical business owners. He is passionate about helping them build successful teams so they can make more money in less time and have more FUN.Paul holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Education. He studied metaphysics as a post graduate and has facilitated and attended numerous seminars in personal growth and business success over the years. Check out Paul’s latest album with the Beach Road Band, Mostly for Kids.