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Costly Hiring Mistakes Tech Leaders Should Avoid

Nearly 95 percent IT leaders said they’d made a bad hire at one point, shows study.


Whether they’re recruiting for a “purple squirrel,” “unicorn” or “rock star,” tech hiring managers say there is often a disconnect between the skills they need and the skills of the people they hire. In new research from Robert Half Technology, 95 percent of IT hiring decision makers admitted to making a bad hire. And 38 percent acknowledged it was due to a skills-based issue, meaning the new hire was unable to do the job as expected.

Interpersonal issues (29 percent) and poor corporate culture fit (28 percent) have also contributed to hiring mistakes, together accounting for over half of bad hires, according to IT leaders.

The challenges may start early on in the hiring process. Thirty-nine percent of IT managers said adequate technical skills are the most difficult thing to evaluate during a job interview. Thirty seven percent have had an issue with corporate culture and 23 percent said soft skills as the biggest challenge.

“Hiring someone who is a poor job fit can hurt your business. It hinders productivity and erodes team morale,” said Ryan Sutton, district president, Robert Half Technology. “Current employees who are already stretched thin must scramble to fix mistakes or handle extra work.”

Sutton continued, “The interview process should be thorough enough to evaluate technical and soft skills. It should also determine a candidate’s fit with the organizational culture and whether it can be fast enough to avoid losing top prospects to other offers.”

Robert Half Technology provides five tips to help hiring managers avoid costly mistakes when recruiting IT talent:

Be clear with what you want

Recruiting the right talent starts with a solid job description. When drafting one for an existing position, re-assess the responsibilities to ensure the current requirements still match the role. If it’s a new position, include the full scope of duties so there’s no confusion once an employee starts.

Test tech skills

Have strong candidates take a technical assessment to test them on key skills required for the role.

Involve your team

When conducting interviews, have peers, direct reports and other colleagues meet with the candidate early in the interview process. This will give you insights into the potential new hire’s interpersonal skills. You can further determine if he or she is a good fit with the team and also with your corporate culture.

Be flexible

In this tight candidate market, it’s challenging to find applicants who meet 100 percent of the requirements. Determine which skills and experience are must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Tech leaders should be willing to train promising candidates who lack those skills or experience but would otherwise be a great fit.

Take a trial run

Consider bringing on a contract employee when you’re hiring for a critical role. This will take some stress off your team while allowing you to evaluate the candidate’s fit for a full-time position.

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