Companies everywhere are scrambling for quality talent. With so much pressure to recruit the top talent for your organization right now, it can be easy to lose sight of the mantra that begins with “Hire slow.” 

This pressure coincides with a need for high-velocity hiring that hasn’t been seen in years. Recent data shows there are currently just over 10 million jobs on the market. In August alone 943,000 more jobs were added. 

No pressure, right?

Pressure On Recruiters 

With the job market advantage firmly in the candidate’s court, recruiters are dealing with friction and stress they haven’t encountered before. Top talent is looking for the work-life balance they experienced while working from home during the pandemic, but not all companies are looking to continue remote working permanently. 

This is causing a huge strain on recruiters as they seek to make sure they hire the best. In fact, according to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, 60% of recruiters believe organizations will lose their chance at hiring high-quality employees if they don’t transition to a remote-first culture. 

For the first time in a long time, candidates feel empowered to fight for everything they want: salary, job flexibility, and remote work options. This is leading to increased negotiation time and a longer hiring process all while positions need to be filled yesterday. The same Jobvite report states 65% of recruiters said their stress levels have increased. 

The truth is, hiring is a process that companies ideally hope will hope takes a few short weeks, but a bad hire is an outcome that can haunt a hiring team for many years to come. 

How To Prevent Bad Hires

Of course, there will always be variables you cannot account for that may one day cause your perfect hire to not live up to expectations. As a recruiter, you can’t hold yourself 100% responsible for the eventual long-term success of every hire.

The good news is there are at least a few best practice guidelines for preventing bad hires. We don’t want to make any guarantees but if you follow these practices while remaining true to your company’s core values we like your odds. 

First things first: we want to state for the record that we think hiring someone you believe will be a great cultural addition to your company is a fabulous idea. 

After all, many skills can be learned. Particularly in roles that are closer to entry-level do not be afraid to give someone a chance. You’ll build trust as well as teach skills that will benefit your employee and organization.

Keeping that mind we have a few other solid hiring process tips for you. 

  1. Assemble Your Interview Team

Be intentional and methodical about how you assemble the team that will be interviewing for each role. While you’ll probably need to include subject matter experts and someone from upper management you may be able to draw from other teams and departments for portions of the interview that gauge culture alignment or debrief past work experience. 

With Prelude, you can create an attribute for a group of interviewers that are all qualified to conduct a certain portion of the interview. This lets Prelude handle the interview schedule for you by showing who is available and cutting down the time you spend scheduling panel interviews.

  1. Ask The Right Questions For The Right Role

An interview where you fail to dig in deep enough to a candidate’s background to determine if they are truly qualified for the position is a waste of time. Dig deep into past work experience by asking scenario-specific questions that give you a sense of their skill level. Here are some ideas:

  • What’s a new skill you gained in your last role, and how did you and your manager determine it was needed?
  • Describe a project you managed from ideation to completion and what the outcome was.
  • What was a mistake made by you or your team that led to learning more about a topic?
  1. Don’t Be Wary Of Giving Homework

With so many potential candidates another way to thin the group might be asking candidates to complete a take-home exercise that gives you a deeper understanding of their soft and hard skills. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t take more than 1-2 hours to complete (the interview process is grueling enough). 

In combination with a thorough vetting and interview process, these take-home assignments serve a dual purpose. Not only do you evaluate their communication and interpretation of their past experience, you may also be able to get a sense of their work ethic based on how seriously they take the assignment. Keep in mind many companies do pay candidates for their time for these hiring assignments.

Motivation In Numbers 

With recruiters combating burnout and stress it can be easy to lose sight of why you need to pull out all the stops to ensure the best possible candidate for the position is hired. Still, your organization should not settle for a candidate that is not ideal. When you need a little extra motivation to keep digging through candidates for the right fit, consider the following numbers. 

  • According to the US Department of Labor, the average cost of replacing a bad hire is up to 30% of an employee’s first-year salary.
  • Jörgen Sundberg, CEO of Link Humans and founder of Undercover Recruiter estimates that the cost of a bad hire is far greater and can exceed $240,000. That number includes recruiting time, a negative impact on team performance, lost customers, weakened employer brand, and more.
  • Perhaps you hired fast and brought on a candidate that isn’t a good fit, and that employee is now actively disengaged or apathetic about their role. Gallup has reported that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $350 billion in a year or at least $2,246 per disengaged employee. 

Look Inward, Then Take A Company Stance To Fire Fast 

Let’s imagine the worst-case scenario occurs: your organization was frantic to hire and pulled the trigger on an employee who is simply not working out. As a recruiter, you’ll typically disengage somewhat with the candidate once hiring has occurred. 

That being said, if you can recommend leadership in the organization infuses the following into their talent management approach, you’ll officially cross over into “talent guru” territory. 

  1. Could management take on more of a servant leader mindset?

There may well be legitimate reasons an employee will end up not working out. However there are situations where you bring on someone you think will be a great fit and has the skills required, and they just don’t thrive. Leaders that can use this as an experience to examine their own managerial skills will long-term be better for it. 

It could very well just be that your talent needs a little bit of extra coaching attention, or that they have something personal going on inhibiting their best work. If there’s a chance to resolve things with your employee (barring of course behavioral challenges that are negatively impacting the team) it will end up taking far fewer resources than re-hiring.

  1. Don’t Delay The Inevitable 

When all opportunities have been exhausted and the team leader is sure that the employee will not work out at the organization there should be no delay in termination. It is not compassionate flr the employee nor good for the rest of your team to delay the inevitable. 

Recruiters can help by taking inventory of the job description and making sure it reflects what’s really needed in the position at this time. It may be time to examine where you’re sourcing candidates to make sure they’re producing applicants that are a good fit for the organization. 

The Bottom Line On Hiring Quality Talent

There’s no magic bullet that will make hiring top-notch talent easier for strained recruiters. In the absence of a sure-fire litmus test, we hope these tips help you not only secure the best talent for your company but also show leadership in hiring with compassion. 


Prelude can help make the hiring process easier by customizing all your candidate touchpoints and cutting the time it takes to schedule interviews. We’d love to learn more about your organization, get in touch if you’d like to learn more about us!