According to Forbes, the cost of a bad hire is more than just that one person’s salary. When you factor in training time, missed opportunities and mistakes, your financial investment for having the wrong person working in your organization can dramatically impact your profitability and cost you several times MORE than what you’re actually paying for that one “bad apple.” A hire that isn’t quite working out doesn’t just impact the bottom line though, they could also negatively impact morale. This might force your more productive employees to either pick up “the slack” or inadvertently encourage them to pick up the bad habits started by your new hire, dragging everyone’s productivity down.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of, has famously estimated the compounding cost of bad hires in his organization to be more than $100M over time! He expresses the “temptation” that entrepreneurs and start-ups feel to get people onboarded as fast as possible is something that should be avoided.

What makes a “Bad Hire”?

Remember, a bad hire isn’t a bad person! They just don’t fit in your organization for a variety of reasons. When employers were asked what makes a candidate a bad fit, they had this to say:

  • Employee didn’t produce the proper quality of work – 67%
  • Employee didn’t work well with other employees – 60%
  • Employee had a negative attitude – 59%
  • Employee had immediate attendance problems – 54%
  • Customers complained about the employee – 44%
  • Employee didn’t meet deadlines – 44%

How can you avoid making a bad hire in the first place?

Time is a huge factor in hiring and absolutely impacts the quality of the hires you make. Most people, more than 43% according to a survey by, say they feel pressure to fill a job quickly. The pressure and time associated with putting up ads, reviewing resumes, coordinating with candidates, interviewing, checking (or not checking) references and making offers takes so much time and energy even for the seasoned hiring manager. Finding a new employee is stressful!

Finding technical experts can be even harder than finding other types of candidates. Software engineers were among the top 10 most difficult and costly positions to fill in 2017. On average, it takes 43 days to fill the position of a software engineer and costs ~$31,000 in productivity losses. And the time and money doesn’t stop simply at the end of the hiring process. Onboarding and training also impact the time and money associated with your new hire.

Curious to see how much money you might lose on a bad hire?

Check out this handy calculator that includes factors like: your salary; candidate search time; candidates salary; and even training time. Note that these may not be the only costs to your organization. The calculator doesn’t calculate potential negative impacts to morale on existing employees, potential loss of business from negatively impacting clients, or any legal issues.

Beyond the pressure of time and potentially rushing through candidates to avoid those productivity losses, are you absolutely sure your interview process will help you filter out bad hires? It may not as 69% of companies according to a survey by said they had a “broken” interview process that lacked standardization, appropriate protocol and helpful checklists.

How can you get the help you need to find the right person, fast?

Working with a recruiter, especially one that specializes in those harder-to-find and specific technical positions can absolutely save you time and bring immediate improvement to your hiring processes through standardization. But does it save you money?

The Chief Executive Network thinks so: “By using third-party recruiters, companies can save thousands of dollars in costs and hundreds of hours of work, and since applicants from third parties have already been interviewed and ‘matched’ with an employer, they often have much lower attrition rates than employees hired directly.”

Working with a recruiter gives you immediate time savings—you don’t have to do the work! A specialized recruiter can also provide you industry intelligence you might not have access to. They know the market, where to find qualified candidates and how to reach them. Your next best hire may not even be looking for a new position, as they are already employed. Finally, a recruiter has an existing network and talks to people on a frequent basis. Someone who wasn’t a fit for a position last week could be a perfect fit for your role this week.

Does using a recruiter really cost that much money?

Many hiring managers and HR professionals we talk to are worried about working with a recruiter because of the associated costs. Generally, working with a recruiter can cost 20-25% of the first-year earnings of your job position. Compare that to the cost of a bad hire—which could range from 30% of salary for an entry-level position to a multiplier of salary for a management position—and the recruiter cost suddenly doesn’t look very expensive at all.

At Align Workforce Solutions, we’ve helped hundreds of companies save time and money by hiring the right people for their organization—fast. We interview you first to understand your technical needs and your corporate culture before we even start searching for candidates—something Tony Hsieh recommends as part of his improved hiring process. We’ll do all the leg work and confirm all needed technical expertise, presenting you with a short list of people we know can do the work in your industry in your way. This process saves you time and money, avoiding productivity losses and preventing one bad apple from spoiling morale.

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