Four Insidious Impacts of a Mis-Hire

by Magi Graziano, Conscious Hiring® and Development

CEOs, business leaders and managers are acutely aware of the fiscal costs of a mis-hire, but there are some invisible – and potentially insidious – costs that can wreak havoc on an organization. Although it might not be top of mind, when a person is hired who does not fit with the organizational culture and/or operating philosophy, the impacts are pervasive throughout the organization. By continuing to operate with outmoded hiring practices, the company becomes susceptible to four specific hidden consequences of a mis-hire.

1. Fragmented customer service

Ensuring the team understands the company’s product and service set and why customers use them is where excellent service begins. Companies can – and ought to – bridge the knowledge gap for new hires with comprehensive product and service training; however, workers cannot be trained to care about the customer. Behavioral and performance research shows that great service is delivered through a fundamental set of values, attitudes and beliefs that are in alignment with a service philosophy. When people are in a role in customer service for the wrong reasons, no training in the world will compensate for their lack of connection to the work itself.

This is a common experience when expecting one level of affinity from the place consumers spend their money and receiving service that is counter to that expectation. This leads to feeling disengaged, dissatisfied and even extreme anger. When a person is hired whose heart is not aligned with the company’s mission and service offerings, or they lack the basic service acumen to execute the customer service objectives, this same level of dissatisfaction is what customers experience.

2. Reduction in innovation

Companies arrive at a sustainable business model through innovation, creativity and a keen awareness of how to bridge a gap in the marketplace. Once the product set is stable and customers are buying, continual improvement and innovation is required to stay ahead of the copycat curve. When some employees cannot seem to get it together, miss basic deadlines or don’t find problems until the customers do, innovation is not even an option.

When employees are hired because their resumes list the right keywords, yet the people behind the resumes lack conceptual thinking ability and theoretical problem-solving, employees lack the access within themselves to come up with creative and inventive solutions. Often, this lack of ability shows up as excuses, finger pointing and roadblocks outside their control. It is important to be aware that a person who lacks these traits is unaware they lack them, and these traits and competencies are very difficult to teach. When hiring people for roles that need to innovate, the prospects must already have these innovator competencies, behaviors and values.

3. Decrease in workforce productivity

When a company hires in a hurry, unwanted turnover is experienced. If the company is lucky, the turnover happens fast. Yet, in most cases, it is months before the problem surfaces and the impact of the wrong person doing the job wrong already has disseminated throughout the team, if not the department. In high-level roles, specifically for senior leadership, the impact is detrimental not only in the immediate area of influence; it permeates throughout the organization. In sales, for example, if two to three people continually are not achieving quota and instead are approaching the position with a poor attitude, it poisons the well for those who are producing and are aligned with the position requirements and level of activity required for success.

Tolerating people who are not engaged and thriving waters down the engagement and productivity of those who want to win. When any of these morale and engagement busters are happening within a culture, good people either leave or move into autopilot until they can find another position. The indirect and costly impacts are higher staffing costs to make up for the lack of employee and team productivity; institutional knowledge loss when good, trained people leave; and increased training costs to continually retrain new blood in the organization.

4. Time and energy losses for the team and leadership

The old adage says 80 percent of time is spent with the bottom 20 percent of performers. As it happens, this statement may be closer to 30 percent of the underperformers. As the competition for talent increases and the fear of the empty chair blocks good sense, a company can feel pressured to fill the job with the first decent person who surfaces with a cogent resume. Hiring the wrong people because the company is “in a rush” to put a butt in a seat leads to more empty seats – or worse, full seats with empty pay offs.

One of the hidden costs of unwanted turnover, as reported in recent employee and manager engagement surveys, is that 70 percent of managers surveyed reported that they are coping with burnout and a job misery rating that is detrimental to their overall happiness. When the workplace culture turns into one of micromanagement, correction and reprimand rather than collaboration, creation and mentoring, the manager’s job becomes one of parent and babysitter.

Often, managers and leaders are looking to HR to fix people and situations that could have been avoided by demonstrating more consciousness and awareness before, during and after hiring. It seems as if, in many companies, an admission of making a poor hire is a far worse offense than allowing and tolerating subpar performance. Furthermore, the cost of doing nothing about a bad hire far outweighs the cost of being proactive and creating high-impact hiring solutions. When viewed in terms of bottom-line profitability and overall success, shifting the philosophy about people and hiring consciously just makes common sense.

Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of Conscious Hiring® and Development, a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert and author of The Wealth of Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Graziano provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. For more information, visit