• Colin Christensen

What Gasoline Teaches us about the cost of a bad hire

Updated: Oct 20, 2018

A funny thing happened to me today.


I can be pretty handy at times - something my wife loves about me. Today I exercised a little of that handiness and changed the fuel filter in my car. If you don't know, something I found out today, there's pressure in the fuel system so when I pulled the top hose off the filter, I got a face full of gasoline - yum.


The funny part about it was, after I spent the next several minutes flushing out my eyes and the next hours washing the gas out of my clothes, I decided to look up on the interweb how much danger I'm in by getting gasoline in my eyes. Now I know the Google has this strange ability to be spooky accurate on what it is I'm looking for, but seeing

"...young man is changing the fuel filter on his car and gets gasoline sprayed in his eyes..."

was a little too close to home. Turns out I'm in less danger than a guy who sprays oven cleaner in his eyes - good to know.


So, the question that rises out of this is: What's the cost of hiring someone who doesn't work out? Let's say they're not as great at getting clients in the door as they say they are or, say - hypothetically - they're not as handy changing fuel filters as they think they are - hypothetically.


Fortunately for me, after the good scrub down, I went to get my hair cut which cleanly trimmed any gasoline out of my hair. While I sat there talking to my favourite hair person - Crystal Brown at Ricci (that's me on the left), we got on the subject of hiring (wow, a recruiting guy talking about hiring - weird). Turns outs, she understands the cost of bad hires as well as anyone I've researched. Now, as a result, she has become very good at the hiring process so her odds of great hires are greatly increased. If you know her team, they've won awards all around the world including "North American Hairstylist of the year".


Her experience echoes what I've found which is, a bad hire can easily cost 40% of the persons annual compensation. This can be hard costs from $25,000 to $50,000. These costs are made up of training, the hiring process, advertising, time from mentors, equipment and many more tangible costs.


a bad hire can easily cost 40% of the persons annual compensation. This can be hard costs from $25,000 to $50,000

The scary part is, this is not including opportunity costs such as lost clients, damaged client relationships, lost opportunities and the passive damage in the messaging your community may now have about your business. These could be tens of thousands or even millions of dollars depending on your business.


Then there's the contamination costs from infecting other members of your team. Everything from possible cancerous rumours to the internalized messages of "well, if he can get away with that, I probably can too".


A solid hiring process including messaging that resonates with the people you want to work with, deep interview questions, value driven stories that engage and allow the prospects to share their values and multiple touch points as the process happens to give multiple views of each candidate will give your team a much better chance of getting the right person on to your team.


When we realize we have hired the wrong person, warning flags we saw through the interview process come back to us. Hindsight is 20/20, right? We can either beat ourselves up over it or we can figure out what type of reasoning we used to excuse those flags and so recognize them next time and avoid the mis-hire. Maybe the excuse was something along the lines of "He's a little off, but man can he sell". This reasoning comes from the mindset of having to settle for a candidate. We're all guilty of this. Instead, have a mindset of abundance and have faith that the right hire is out there.


In addition, since we all know a bad hire costs more the longer you have them on board, we should take up a stance of "firing fast". Sure you can give a chance, but realize the warnings early and make decisions to pull the trigger quickly.


The cost of a bad hire can be avoided along with the stench that can hang around afterwards. Now, if I can just get rid of everything smelling like gasoline, we could all be a little happier.


What's your hiring horror story?


Connect with me to fix the horror.


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