Can You Spot the Signs of a Bad Hire?

According to a survey from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), a single bad hire could cost as much as five times the annual salary for the position. Furthermore, researchers from The Harvard Business Review found 80 percent of worker turnover is as a result of bad hiring decisions.

So what causes a hiring decision to be bad? A survey of executives carried out by Robert Half had 36 percent of respondents saying a poor skills match was the main factor in a bad hiring choice. The second most given reason, at 30 percent, was unclear performance metrics, which can lead to miscommunications between workers and supervisors, as well as low morale.

Finding the proper candidate calls for time and focus, as well as knowing what to look for in a bad hire. The following are a signs that a candidate has a high chance of not working out at your company.

They just want a job

One of the most prominent indications of a bad hire is an applicant who simply wants a job, any kind of job. The applicant might even tell you she or he doesn’t care what kind of job they get, they just need something as soon as possible.

While it might be good to have a very motivated worker in the short turn, in the long run, they may become disengaged after their immediate situation gets resolved. When this occurs, the worker’s loss of motivation or growing frustration won’t benefit themselves or their employer.


When you encounter an applicant who doesn’t have flexibility when it comes to working conditions or terms of employment, you might be looking at a bad hire. Applicants with a lack of openness will be less likely to adapt to recommendations made by management and be closed-minded towards new ideas, which can make training them on new tools and methods difficult down the road.

Too big of a jump in responsibility

Someone applying to role that has a lot more responsibility than any other role they have had in the past could turn out to be a bad hire. While the applicant might have had achievements in a smaller role, it does not mean success will follow with a lot more responsibility at your organization.

While everyone deserves the opportunity to move ahead in their career, it is the potential employer’s responsibility to make sure applicants taking a step up have a good chance of succeeding in the new role.

Bad attitude

Difficult to spot in the interview, a bad attitude can be found in any applicant.

The best way to spot a bad attitude is to thoroughly examine references and get solid explanations from the candidate on why they left various jobs in the past. If the list of references turns out to be flimsy or the candidates reasons for leaving past jobs sound fishy, it might be good to move on to the next candidate.

At LTI, we have years of experience in spotting bad hires. If your organization would like to take advantage of our hiring experience, reach out to us today!