Avoid a Costly Bad Hire: 7 Tips for Interviewers

A bad hire can cost your company a lot of money – estimates currently range from $25,000 to $50,000 per bad hire in lost time, lost customers, mental and emotional strain on the rest of the team, and even potential for damage to assets and equipment.

Do’s and Don’ts:


  1. DO: Pre-screen candidates over the phone first.  Make sure that you are taking the time to personally meet candidates who are interested, available and a good potential fit for your operations.


  1. DO: Practice. Prepare questions in advance and then practice with office staff or other employees.  Be prepared and your candidate will appreciate a more smooth interview process and your company will look organized and in control of the situation.


  1. DO: Have a hiring plan and share it with your candidate. A typical plan would be to ask line managers conduct a phone interview, bring candidates in for an interview, tour the candidate around the facility or job site and then, bring candidate back for a final meeting with an owner or other key stakeholders. Share your plans so candidates will know what to expect and how long the process might take.


  1. DO: Ask the same questions every time. Compare the answers from all your candidates to see if any individual shines. This practice will also help you avoid any potential discrimination claims in the future.


  1. DON’T: Ask “Tell me about yourself.”   Instead, say “From all that you have heard about this position and our company, tell me why you would make a good addition to the team.” The qualified candidate will be ready to show you how he or she has considered ways to make an impact and be a valuable contributor while the unprepared candidate will stumble or put together a vague answer.


  1. DON’T: Ask vague questions like “What would you do if a customer became angry?” Ask a direct question to evaluate skills such as “Tell me about a time when a customer was upset. How did you handle it?”


  1. DON’T: Drag your feet. If you find someone great, interview thoroughly, conduct references and make a competitive offer. Many great candidates are lost due to uncertainty and lack of communication – leaving potential recruits on the market, interviewing and available for the competition to hire away.



Christine Soderlund, Recruiting & Talent Development

Bruce Wilson & Company


Identifying, recruiting and pre-screening candidates are some of the many services that career HR professional Christine Soderlund offers to the landscape industry as a member of Bruce Wilson & Company consulting team.


For more information, please visit or contact Christine at


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