Anyone who has worked with an unsuitable co-worker probably has a general idea of what they can cost a company in terms of lower output, increased training and assessment time, and impacted morale.

Replacing the person is problematic too, as people have to cover for that missing employee in addition to completing their normal duties.

How much does a bad hire cost a company? Depending on your country of operation, it can cost you US$65,000 (S$80,000) or more. A few such cases in a short period of time can have a significant impact on the corporate balance sheet.

So how can a company minimise the chances of hiring an unsuitable employee? 

The first thing is to not stretch out the employee selection and hiring process. A natural reaction is to increase the level of screening, research and testing in order to weed out the undesirables.

The problem with that is while you are doing your due diligence, your prime candidates are interviewing and getting hired elsewhere. 

That leaves you with a higher probability of hiring another unsuitable candidate, while your best fit is settling in at your competitor telling office partners how non-committal you are.


Where to begin

So where do you start to improve your hiring process? Here are some suggestions:


Review your online communications strategy

Do you have a social media presence? Is your corporate Facebook page regularly updated with success stories and significant corporate achievements? Are your employee contributions in the community recognised? 

Tweets and Facebook posts about vacancies are easily forwarded and are the way much of the world now communicates, so if you are not doing it, or are doing it poorly, you are not reaching everyone.

Is your website user friendly? Is it easy to navigate so prospective employees can quickly find everything they want to know about you?

How responsive is your web page? 

A website that takes too long to load, especially on mobile devices, is annoying and says you are not current.

Some companies struggle with their communications strategy. How else can you tell people how great this company is and how your employees are happy and content?


Think like a job seeker

Ask what information you wanted to know before you were hired at your current employer. Of course, salary is an important consideration, but do you describe ongoing education and cross-training opportunities?

Is your workplace providing opportunities for your co-workers to engage each other? Many people indicate that a positive work environment is a strong factor in deciding where they wish to work.


Tap your employee experience

While you are improving your communications strategy, look to your employees to be your best ambassadors. 

We associate with people like us, so existing staff are likely to bring people with similar qualities into the organisation.

Put another way, will a good employee risk his status in the company by recommending someone likely to be a lazy malcontent? Probably not. 

The best employees should also have a solid grasp on what it takes to truly succeed in the position more than a human resources person writing a generic job description. 

Some companies offer a bonus payment system to reward people who bring successful hires into the organisation.


Repeat your successes

There is another way successful employees can help your organisation. Study how they came to be hired. Many companies in the digital age are surprised to learn how people heard about an opening via social media.

Pinpoint where each staff member heard about you and concentrate your efforts on the most popular methods.  There also are software packages that help you keep track of where your hires are coming from and assist with recruitment.


Be proactive

Many human resource directors share how important it is to be proactive in their recruitment of staff. A lack of communication between departments often results in a situation where one area is planning a firing or expansion that the human resources department is unaware of.

HR managers are constantly on the lookout for good candidates by monitoring social media, appearing at schools and trade fairs, and networking. On occasion, they have to tell an eager candidate there is no opening when actually there is. They then contact that person only to find out he got a job somewhere else.


Improve your interview process

There are also a few steps you can easily implement in your interview process that help you hire better employees. 

Do you match the interview questions with the actual job you are hiring for? Some people do not do this. 

The end result is they generate a large amount of information that has no practical application in the hiring process.

Work with your top employees to develop a series of situational-based questions that describe common scenarios in that role. 

You end up with accurate questions and, in many cases, help the staff involved feel more emotional ownership of the company, which increases self-esteem and productivity.


Increase testing during the hiring process

In addition to psychometric tests, ask candidates to complete tasks using common software programs in use at the company or write reports that can be graded for depth of knowledge.


Article by Tony Zerucha, an Associate Writer with Sandbox Advisors, a firm that helps people with careers, job search and training in Singapore. For more information, visit