The true cost of hiring the wrong person

By Robert Half on 14th March 2023

So you've decided to hire a new employee. Having been impressed by an individual during the recruitment process, you offer them the job and then look forward to seeing them in action.

However, not too long after they arrive, it becomes clear there is a problem – they are a bad hire. Some consistent patterns start developing. For example, your new employee starts to miss deadlines, falls out with colleagues, ignores the company mission and values, and only does the bare minimum at work.

These are all red flags that shouldn’t be ignored, as hiring the wrong person can have potentially devastating consequences on the business.

Why it's important to recruit the best

The consequences of hiring the wrong person are damaging and costly. Your business loses more than time, money and effort by recruiting, hiring and training people who perhaps shouldn't have been brought on in the first place.

Consider the consequences of hiring the wrong person: the business and potential revenue you may lose when they with customers, the cost you incur when you have to repeat procedures that were handled ineptly and the pressures on other employees who must pick up the slack.

But the cost of a bad hire doesn't end there - consider the expense and hassle that you face when you have to cut your losses and dismiss this "wrong" hire. In the long run, it's more difficult for the manager and team to accommodate a poor performer than it is to invest in recruiting quality candidates.

The wisest hiring advice is to put in the time and effort at the start to make sure you have the best available pool of applicants for every job opening, and determine whether you have suitable procedures in place for evaluating candidates.

Related: The best interview questions to ask

The cost of a bad hire

A bad hire may be unavoidable; sometimes candidates can have great CVs and interview brilliantly, but still may not be the right fit for the role.

The true cost of hiring the wrong person may not be fully realised until much later, but these three consequences are what your business may encounter:

1. Lost productivity

The organisation may be investing the same amount of resources in the wrong staff member, but seeing significantly less output in return. Over a period of time, this can have a real impact on results and the overall performance of the team.

When faced with a struggling colleague, other employees may start assuming new duties, putting them under increased pressure. This not only impacts their own performance and productivity at work, but their ability to keep appointments, hit targets and maintain standards.

2. Lower staff morale

One of the first things to take a hit may be staff morale. If employees are asked to do more to cover for a struggling colleague, yet still receive the same salary, it can cause tension and potentially conflict.

A bad hire who has a negative attitude towards work can also have a negative effect on staff morale. If they are unable to fit seamlessly into existing teams and get on with their colleagues, it can cause an uneasy atmosphere in the office.

This potentially impacts on how much employees enjoy doing their jobs, and the likelihood they will stay with the organisation for the long term.

3. Monetary costs of a bad hire

Organisations need to create job descriptions, advertise roles, read through CVs, and review application forms and carry out interviews. All the while, they may be operating short-staffed due to a lack of capacity in the office.

Even after the new employee joins a company, there is onboarding expenditure to consider, plus the fact the recruit may not be as productive as the experienced person they replaced.

To overcome a wrong hiring mistake, it may be necessary to reallocate people and resources, invest in further training, or in the most serious instances, let the employee go. Essentially, you are back to square one, with a position still to fill.

Related: Onboarding process in the UAE: What to do and what not to do

Hiring the right person

There's no doubt that poor recruitment decisions of a bad hire can have a long-term impact for organisations - and fixing an underperforming employee can take some time to set right.

If you do end up with an unsuitable employee, it's important to address the situation. It's vital that businesses take all possible steps to avoid making hiring mistakes. Using a recruitment agency can help reduce the risks involved with bringing a new employee onboard.

They can use their knowledge of industry sectors, client requirements and candidate capabilities to help select the right person.


Make sure you hire candidates who fit your business, culture and expectations. As experts in recruitment and with an international bank of talent and expertise, Robert Half can help you fill vacancies with the best talent, quickly. Contact our team to discuss our specialised recruitment services .  

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