Good on paper but a poor cultural fit

Recent research finds 63% UAE business leaders have hired an employee who was not a good fit for the team.

•    Nearly two-thirds (63%) UAE business leaders have hired an employee who was not a good fit for the team
•    Resulting in lost productivity (44%), increased workloads (39%) and higher stress levels (36%).
•    Robert Half offers best practice tips on hiring someone with the right technical ability alongside cultural fit.

Dubai, 24 September 2018 – Nearly two-thirds (63%) of UAE business leaders admit that they’ve hired an employee who was not a good cultural fit for their company. According to research by recruitment expert, Robert Half UAE, 56% of businesses took as long as one month to recognise that the individual was a mismatch, with an additional 22% taking up to three months.

The study suggests that current market conditions are causing businesses to undervalue soft skills – such as emotional intelligence, attitude, communication skills, personality and reliability – in favour of candidates that appear to have the required skills on paper. The most common indicators a new employee wasn’t the right fit included a lack of team spirit (39%), lack of adaptability (34%) and the inability to work collaboratively (32%). The result is that many businesses are potentially missing out on top candidates due to inadequate approaches to their recruitment processes.

Business leaders reported that these poor hiring decisions had a direct impact on productivity (44%), and increased workloads (39%) and stress levels (36%) on colleagues. A third (34%) also faced higher recruitment costs as they may have had to restart the hiring process again to rectify the issue and find the right candidate for the role.
Top five consequences of a bad hire

  • Lost productivity    44%
  • Increased workloads on colleagues    39%
  • Increased stress on colleagues    36%
  • Higher recruitment costs    34%
  • Increased stress on senior management    32%

*Responses do not total 100% as multiple responses were permitted.

Robert Half’s research reiterated that the cost of a bad hire can often go beyond direct hiring costs as UAE business leaders identified the common steps used to address a poor hiring decision. These included developing a specific training programme to upskill the employee (43%), adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach in the hopes that the employee’s performance improve (39%). While a third (33%) decided to reach out to a specialised recruitment agency at this stage to ensure they find the best available candidate.
“There is no doubt that if candidates have the right attitude and aptitude, coupled with the right technical ability, they can be excellent appointments. In fact, what looks good on paper – such as experience or technical skills – does not guarantee a successful recruit. Soft skills must also be taken into account,” said Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director of Robert Half UAE. “Employers should strike the right balance between experience, skills and personality – only through planning can they evaluate gaps in a team and rank the required characteristics accordingly.”

“The risk of not considering a candidates soft skills and cultural fit for the role during the hiring process can cause widespread issues for the business. Specialist recruitment consultants, like Robert Half, are able to objectively consider the cultural fit of every candidate alongside technical ability before pulling a shortlist together for your business,” concludes El Mettouri

– ENDS –

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About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide, including the UAE, providing recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal, human resources and administration professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at