The Hidden Costs of a Bad Hiring Decision

We can all agree that hiring decisions are important. In previous posts, we have discussed the value of hiring effective employees (here) and the competitive advantage enjoyed by organizations that retain them over time (here). In this post, we focus on broader implications that often “fly under the radar” when we think about hiring.

Here is a simple example of how we often tend to think.

Job Fit


  • Employee A is a good fit for the job. Employee B is not.
  • Employee A is productive, focused, and happy. Employee B is not.
  • Employee A adds value. Employee B does not.


There is something critical missing from what I just described. Let’s try that one more time.

Job Fit + Interaction

This second example allows us to consider the fact that employees influence one another:

  • If Employee B is unproductive, Employee A may need to pick up the slack.
  • If Employee B is considering quitting or spending time searching for another job, it actually increases the chances that Employee A will do the same.
  • If Employee B is expressing negative emotions at work, Employee A is also likely to experience negative emotions. (This is a fascinating process call emotional contagion, also discussed in a previous post here).
  • All of these things influence how much value is added or lost.


Let’s go even bigger. Each hiring decision can have a “ripple effect” throughout an entire organization.Organization Dynamic

If there is one simple lesson to take away from all this, it is the importance of getting hiring right in the first place.

So what “ripple effects” have you seen? Is there anything that you have done or will do differently as a result?

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