Accepting a job is a bit like dating: It sometimes takes a while to learn that you and the other party aren't a good fit and then you must go your separate ways.
While that can be demoralizing for workers, it can be downright expensive and potentially disastrous for employers, especially if the ill-fitting employee was tapped to lead the company.
So-called "bad hires" aren't as unusual as it might seem. More than two-thirds of employers said they were affected by a bad hire last year, according to recent a CareerBuilder survey. The results mirrored those of a similar poll taken in 2010.
Of the nearly 2,700 employers surveyed in August and September, 41 percent estimated that a single bad hire cost them more than $25,000, while a quarter or respondents said it cost more than $50,000.
Further, CareerBuilder says, a bad hire costs employers much more than the average cost for each hire. Forty percent of employers reported that a new hire typically costs $1,000 or less, while a third said such an expense ranges from more than $1,000 to $5,000 each. The remainder reported spending more than $5,000 on each newly hired worker.
Why do companies make bad hires? Needing to hire someone quickly, noted by 38 percent of polled employers, was the top reason companies gave for making a bad hire. But nearly as many said they weren't sure or that mistakes happen.
While costs are a key reason for employers to avoid bad hires, workers' concerns are more focused on how a poorly suited position can affect their careers and emotional well-being.
CareerBuilder's Ryan Hunt advises newly hired employees who find themselves in unsuitable positions to first ask if the job is the one they hired to do
"If you feel the employer didn't communicate the duties of the job or you misunderstood them, it's best that you take the lead in those first few weeks to clarify any doubts," says Hunt, a career adviser, via email.
At worst, he says, workers may learn that their suspicions were right. On the bright side, however, a manager may reconfigure job duties or even find a better-suited position within the company. But don't wait to raise any concerns.
Another option, of course, is to simply quit. That may be difficult, Hunt says, but a hasty departure may be the best thing workers can do. Otherwise, the situation might become unmanageable and lead to dismissal, a much harder scenario to explain to recruiters when searching for your next position.
Lastly, Hunt says, if you find you can't quit, do the best you can. Learn all you can and ally yourself with colleagues who can help you deal with the position's challenges.
And if the situation doesn't appear to improve, he says, 'Keep your eye on job openings that provide a better fit.' "
For more on the costs associated with a bad hire, check out this infographic from Mindflash.com, a provider of online training programs.
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