The most common reasons IT companies make bad hires

WASHINGTON — A new hire doesn’t always meet expectations, and in the information technology industry it happens frequently.

Staffing firm Robert Half said 95 percent of tech decision-makers it surveyed admitted to making a bad hire recently.

The top reason is an obvious one. The new hire simply doesn’t have the skills the job requires, despite a convincing resume and a solid interview process. But the other big reasons don’t have anything to do with a bad hire’s ability to do the job.

In the survey, 29 percent of IT hiring managers said interpersonal issues turned out to make the new employee a bad fit. Another 28 percent said the new hire was an unsuitable fit for the company’s corporate culture.

Those are tough issues to spot in the interview process.

“When you’re interviewing someone it is hard to picture them in your environment,” said Matt Deneroff, branch manager at Robert Half Technology in Baltimore, in an interview with WTOP. “It’s one of those things that you don’t really get that good picture until they’re in their seat. So, while you can vet them technically, the cultural fit is something that you really need to see in person to evaluate,” he said.

The cost of making a bad hire is far-reaching.

Not only has the company wasted time and resources in the job search process and new employee training — called “onboarding” — but it also takes a psychological toll and can make the hiring manager look bad.

“The existing team in place may feel a dip in morale or an increase in stress. And then your manager or other business owners may question your judgment when making a staffing mistake,” Deneroff said.

While personal issues are often a big reason new hires turn out to be a bad fit, skill-set inadequacies are weighing heavy on the IT industry right now as well.

Alexandria, Virginia-based trade association TechServe Alliance said the number of IT jobs grew at an anemic 0.06 percent pace in July and is up just 0.73 percent from a year ago, almost entirely because of an acute talent shortage.

“It is beyond frustrating to see a large number of opportunities, but not the qualified people to fill these positions,” said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance.

Robert Half Technology’s survey was based on responses from more than 2,600 senior managers at I-T firms in 26 major U.S. markets.

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