cost of a bad hire

The cost of a bad hire isn’t quite on par with that of marrying the wrong person but it’s close. Bringing a new employee onboard means investing in a new relationship and when things go south both tangible and intangible resources are wasted.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, bad hires can cost up to 30% of an employee’s first-year salary. What’s more, failed talent acquisition takes its toll in terms of productivity as well as morale. Your entire firm, including all of your other employees, suffers when a hire goes awry.

Breaking Down the Cost of a Bad Hire
If the U.S. Department of Labor is correct, a new hire brought in on a $100,000 annual salary could cost you $30,000 if things don’t work out. Some legal staffing firms estimate that this figure is, in fact, much higher. Jörgen Sundberg, Founder & CEO of Link Humans, for instance, puts the cost of a new hire at $240,000. For a small firm, losing a sum like this is a potentially lethal blow.

Nearly a quarter of a million dollars may sound exaggerated but it checks out if you add up all that is lost in terms of decreased productivity, damage to client relationships, and destruction of your firm’s reputation. Indeed, when all this is considered and numbers are crunched over the long term, a quarter-million may even turn out to be conservative. And this says nothing of the impact bad hires have on team morale.

Human beings are hardwired to privilege fairness. Our success as a species hinges on communal effort and so the desire to see everyone do their part attains existential importance. When one member of a group slacks, the others suffer the burden, and this simply becomes unsustainable. In the business world, the result of such dynamics is lagging employee engagement, poor talent retention, and general dissatisfaction. If left unchecked, all of these threaten a firm’s viability.

The Cost of a Bad Hire is Cumulative 
If everything that has already been said weren’t enough, data collected by legal staffing firms show that poor talent acquisition has a cumulative effect.

One weak link lowers the bar for everyone else. When you bring a dud onboard, everyone within their orbit is affected. Tuning up an underperformer costs time and resources that could be used to support those who are pulling their weight. Tolerating lackluster work gives the impression that others need not do more than the bare minimum. Firing a botched hire takes its toll on trust and morale. The only way to avoid such unsavory outcomes is to avoid bad hires in the first place.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Legal staffing firms wouldn’t exist if the task were straightforward. Nailing the hiring process takes care and experience. As an attorney, you’re trained to practice law, not run an HR department which is why outside expertise is key to effective talent acquisition.

To learn more about saving yourself the time and costs of a bad hire, do not hesitate to book a call with me today! I’m here to help you improve your hiring strategy and increase your highly-qualified talent acquisition. 

employee playbook


Everything you need to turn around your people, processes, productivity and profitability is right here in this free e-Book.


Feel like your people—and their productivity—are a mess? Don’t worry, this book has your back! Download this book for free and follow our advice about how to empower your employees to step up and lead!

You have Successfully Subscribed!