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The Costliest Part of a Bad Hire Isn't the Money
Friday, March 6, 2015 6:30 AM

As expensive as it is to replace a bad hire, the money isn’t what concerns employers most. In a Robert Half survey, chief financial officers said the single greatest impact of a poor hiring decision is 39 percent lower staff morale, followed closely by a 34 percent loss in productivity. Monetary costs came in third, garnering 25 percent of the response.

The survey, developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm was based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.

CFOs were asked, Which one of the following, in your opinion, is the single greatest impact of a bad hiring decision? Their responses:

Lower staff morale


Lost productivity


Monetary cost


Other/don’t know





"There are a number of reasons someone may not be a good match for a job—he or she may lack the requisite skills or be a poor personality fit, for example," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. "Interviews and reference checks are designed to ensure a successful hire, but these methods are not fail-safe, particularly if employers are not thorough in their efforts. This is where professional recruiters can add value."

McDonald adds that no matter the root cause of a bad hiring decision, it can spread negativity rapidly. "A poor hire can cause friction as other employees are left to take on extra work and fix projects that weren't done right the first time. Bad hiring decisions also can cause staff to question management's judgment and even lose faith in company leaders."