Businesses regret half of new hires amid skills shortage, poll finds

Experts urge firms to be transparent about culture and expectations during recruitment as more than half admit rushing the hiring process

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Businesses say they regret almost half of new hires they make as the UK’s skills shortage intensifies, new research has revealed. 

The report, from jobs consultancy Robert Half, found that nearly half (46 per cent) of senior decision makers have reported making a bad hire in the past 12 months, with small businesses more likely to feel the impact.

According to the data, three in five (61 per cent) respondents felt that settling for a candidate whose skills did not match the role requirements was the main component in employing a bad hire, closely followed by a similar proportion (56 per cent) who felt they rushed the hiring process.

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The report also found that seven in 10 (70 per cent) businesses agreed that the impact of making a bad hire was worse than it was 12 months ago, with more than four in five (82 per cent) SMEs reporting severe negative impacts. 

According to the research, the economic resurgence and appetite for growth over the last 12 months has increased recruitment demand, leading to a talent shortage that has triggered poor hiring decisions. 

Matt Weston, senior managing director at Robert Half said: “Every company regardless of its size, industry or sector depends on its employees to achieve its objectives, which means maintaining a productive workforce and hiring skilled talent that adds value to the team. 

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“With this in mind, making a bad hire can have serious implications, as the time and expense taken to recruit and onboard a new employee can feel like wasted time and effort when it doesn’t work out,” he said.

The report also found that more than half (53 per cent) of business leaders were having to pay new hires more than their current employees. 

However, businesses are keen to learn from their past mistakes, with (44 per cent)  recognising that vetting is the most important step for avoiding a bad hire. 

Weston added that making the right hiring decisions has never been more important, as bad hires often happen because the job description “wasn’t right from the outset”. 

Rita Trehan, founder and CEO of DARE Worldwide said: “Hiring decisions that don’t turn out well often fall foul not because of the expertise of the individual hired but due to cultural fit. Companies should spend as much time as they do on checking capabilities as they do in being transparent about the work culture and expectations,” she said. 

She urged organisations to move away from traditional approaches to attract talent and to think more broadly about where the talent pool might lie. 

“Organisations must widen their thinking, move beyond solving the surface issue of ‘the person was not a good fit’ and get to the underlying causes of why the hiring decisions didn’t work out,” she said. 

“Making hasty decisions to ‘fill the seat’ ends up being far more costly in the long term, the financial and brand cost of poor hiring decisions linger, so companies should steer away from filling a seat and instead consider what can I not afford to compromise on,” she added.