Avoid costly hiring mistakes

Hiring mistakes can be costly to your business in many ways. Firstly, there is the financial cost of hiring. For those doing the hiring, it’s a waste of time, energy, and effort. For the team, it is bad for moral, and can be quite disruptive and unsettling. Then, there is the lost productivity, and time taken to re-train the next hire. It can damage your business’ reputation and with the current global talent shortage, make hiring even more challenging.

The impact of a bad-hire amongst technology professionals is felt more acutely than other sectors, with a bad Director-level tech hire costing up to nearly a quarter more than their initial salary.

That means if you make a poor hiring decision of someone at $150k, that could cost you $35k+.

You can avoid making these costly hiring mistakes.


1. Your hiring plan (if there is one) is not aligned to any business objective.

2. There are no criteria for hiring.

3. You’ve had a short-term focus. You hired fast and fired slow.

4. There is a temptation to rehire the mistakes, by replacing old with new versions of the ‘wrong’ people.

5. Instead of building the right team, you are carrying some wrong people.

6. When you have a need for an expert, “you hired for lack of weakness rather than for strengths” (Ben Horowitz).


1. Hiring plans, as part of your people strategy, need to align to your business strategy.

2. Take a more holistic approach to hiring. Become more discerning about who you’re hiring. Know the type of person you’d like to work with, understand what they value and how they engage with others. Don’t just hire for technical skills.

3. Hire slow (cautiously), fire fast.

4. When someone leaves, review what’s really needed in the team. Do you need someone with those same skills, working in the same way? Unlikely. Maybe you need someone who can step up into a people leadership role. And maybe someone else in the team can absorb some of the work. Look at your options before you jump in to replace like with like, AKA the ‘cloning effect’.

5. Before you go to hire, consider who are you carrying, those who no longer serve your business. Maybe it’s time to make some tough calls and have a team reshuffle.

6. Be aware of the strengths of new hires. You have your list of role requirements, but what else can someone bring to your business? Who do they know in the community? What relevant experience do they have in other companies? What expertise can they bring that will be useful in the future? But be careful that you’re not swept up in any hype of expertise that’s not relevant!

With high growth and so many urgent needs, it’s challenging to take the time to step back and truly understand the capabilities you want to bring into your team. But at a cost of up to 25% of an employee’s salary, can you really afford to continue to make these hiring mistakes?

If you’re ready to make the space to work on your hiring strategy, I’d love to chat and see how I can help.




Mary Butler is a People Strategy Expert, Author, Coach and Facilitator. She gets what traditional HR doesn’t.

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Mary Butler

Mary Butler

Mary Butler is a People Strategy Expert, Author, Coach and Facilitator. She gets what traditional HR doesn’t.

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