The Cost of a Bad Hire? TRIPLE their Salary!!!!

Recruitment, especially in tech, is seriously hard work. Even just for one new team member.

Listing a job, sifting through applicants, interviewing them, re-interviewing the best, negotiating an offer… It’s a lot. Imagine going through all of that, finally hiring a candidate, and waiting for their start date to arrive – only to discover that they’re totally wrong for the job, and completely at odds with your company values.

Their productivity is lower than baseline. They make wildly inappropriate comments. They won’t do anything “beneath” them. They can’t finish a task to spec or deadline. They’re supposed to lead but their team is constantly guiding them.

Members of the team around the new hire are starting to feel unmotivated and undervalued.

Some people are asking questions about how they got the job in the first place.

The whole atmosphere is changed; sour and dark, no chatter or collaboration – just workstation after workstation of headphones and bad moods.

That, dear reader, is a bad hire.

You might think that this is a rare, or even a worst-case scenario. Sadly, it’s extremely common: 85% of organisations have made bad hires at least once. It’s depressing, for sure – but did you know how expensive it is for businesses?

Whatever the salary offered – treble it, and that’s how much it will cost your company.

How a bad hire can end up costing your company 3x the posted salary

It sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Surely this is just a “big company” problem, and not the case for SMBs? The truth is, a bad hire can infect your company deeply, not just at the point of entry. Here’s where all that money goes.


Good recruitment is not cheap – whether you use an agency or do it in-house. But even doing it half-heartedly is expensive; the lower-end estimate is about £2,500 per hire, and the UK cost per hire average is £3,000.

A bad hire means spending this recruitment cost all over again.


If the new hire isn’t all they said they were on paper, then they won’t have the skills to contribute to productivity. You’re paying, but they’re not delivering.

Instead, other team members might pick up the slack, even if they have to stay on late, in an attempt to be welcoming to the new person on their team and to “just make it work”. That’s doubled up work – but far worse is that your good, solid team players are getting burned out.

Teams start to fracture

A bad hire doesn’t necessarily mean a bad person – but often there is a problem with cultural fit. We’re not suggesting that Friday beers is a culture, and that if your new hire doesn’t drink, then they’re a bad fit culturally; that’s just personal choice.

A bad cultural fit is one that doesn’t really care about what you’re trying to achieve, or is at odds with your values as a company. This can seed unhappiness in teams, and cause them to fragment into cliques and silos. Rifts can form, and overall collaboration can be stifled as a result. This doesn’t just harm productivity – it destroys morale.

Your team members don’t have to be best friends (it certainly helps, though!), but they do need to be able to work together respectfully and amicably. If not, people will start to leave. If you’re not careful, it’ll be your top performers who go first. They can often feel that they’ve had to accommodate the bad hire, and have been left to stagnate during their tenure.


One bad hire can lead to having to make many more hires to undo the damage. If the team begins to suffer as a result of a bad hire, those not inclined to voice their concerns may become disgruntled – and quit*.

*Bear in mind that this can be a sign of deeper issues. A bad hire making work worse is usually the last kick in the teeth for some people who are already at the end of the employee lifecycle.

Client/customer loss

When quality dives, or key team members leave, clients and customers suffer. This is the final straw for any business, because it’s glaringly obvious that the bottom line is getting hurt.

Don’t let it get this far.

How can you stop a bad hire from getting in?

Well… You sort of can’t. If they interview well, but come into work like a totally different person, that’s just the way it is. You’ll never know until you see them on a day-to-day basis, and see their work (or lack thereof).

Basically, there are no guarantees.

You can change your vetting process, to include skills checks, and ask for previous examples of work. Checking in with former employers is a good starting point, but beware that sometimes a generic response from HR is all you’ll get, and it’s not likely to be a deep-dive into their values and daily output.

Also, be mindful that we’re all human. That new hire might be having a really bad time that you don’t even know about, and this could all just be temporary.

Try talking first.

How to spot a bad hire before it’s too late:

  • Skills are missing that the employee claimed to have
  • Low quality of work
  • Repeated mistakes, even after fair coaching
  • Poor timekeeping and high absenteeism
  • No ownership or responsibility when things go wrong
  • Negative and critical of the company
  • Incomplete workloads are being taken on by other team members
  • Collaboration and communication drops off
  • A noticeable “social void” appears around the new hire

How to respond to a bad hire

  • Find out if their work is suffering because they are. Can you help resolve it?
  • Are they competent, but not familiar with your way of working?
  • Are they motivated to improve?

If the answer to any or all of those questions is a no, then it’s time to terminate their contract, based on your contract agreement and legal obligations.

All that time, just to let them go… 

But for companies who need tech talent, there is a better way.

Generic recruitment can only get you so far. But a specialist recruiter, who knows the job and the people who’ll excel at it? That’s the ideal standard.

This is what we do at ClearHub – the largest global network of Atlassian, DevOps and software professionals in the world.

Created by a team of software and Atlassian experts, we take our deep knowledge of the industry to find the candidates that no generic recruiter can. We consider company culture, technical needs and your existing talent, to find people that will work to build your company.

Our specialist recruiters continue to assist you and your new recruit in their role, with a combination of dedicated project management and technical support should you run into any problems.

The best candidates come to ClearHub. You should, too.

No more bad hires. Get the best talent – with ClearHub.

Our team pairs businesses with Atlassian, Cloud, DevOps and ITSM experts. Everyone in the ClearHub network is vetted, skills-checked and ready to go from day one. We support all our clients and their chosen experts while they’re on the job, too; so you’ll never have to worry about training, upskilling, or making a bad hire ever again.

Get in touch today.

UK contact: Aaron Rowsell

Global Contractor Manager


Call: +44 2381 157 811​

US contact: David Runyon

Recruitment Consultant


Call +1 858 304 1215

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