Majority of Singaporean leaders have hired the wrong person for the job: Research

New research shows the majority of Singapore’s CFOs have hired an employee who did not meet expectations. Read more here.

  • 98% of Singaporean CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, primarily because of a mismatch of skills (43%) and the candidate being either underqualified (37%) or overqualified (35%). 
  • 35% had to let the employee go, while 33% respectively developed training programs to boost the employee’s skill level, and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement. 
  • Employers cite increased workload for colleagues (43%), increased stress on managers (43%) and colleagues (41%) as the biggest consequences of a bad hire.

New survey results show the overall majority of Singapore’s financial employers have hired an employee who did not meet expectations. According to the independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half, 98% of Singaporean CFOs admit they have made a miscalculated hiring decision, with almost one in four (24%) taking just two weeks to discover that they have hired the wrong person.

According to the study of 150 CFOs in Singapore, the most common reasons why new hires did not meet expectations were a mismatch of skills (43%), the candidate being underqualified (37%) or overqualified (35%) and a misalignment in attitude (34%). 

What to do with a bad hire?
When asked what steps they took to address the poor hiring decision(s), more than one in three (35%) CFOs say they terminated the employee contract, whilst 33% respectively developed a training program to develop the employee’s skills to the desired level, and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement. Close to one-third (32%) of finance employers decided to deal with the matter internally by looking for an internal vacancy the candidate would be better suited for and 28% adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if the employee’s performance would improve.

The cost of a bad hire
Hiring the wrong person for the job can significantly impact the organisation. The top three consequences of a bad hire according to Singaporean finance employers are increased workload for colleagues (43%), and increased stress on managers (43%) and colleagues (41%). Other cited negative consequences include increased workloads for managers (38%), lost productivity (28%) and higher recruitment costs (27%).  

Bad hires can be highly costly for companies, though many Singaporean companies struggle with accurately calculating the cost of hiring the wrong person. Little over four in 10 (41%) do track the costs yet fail to compile all the data in a single overview, while one in three (34%) say some costs are not accurately measurable. Little over one in 10 (12%) do not track the costs closely and 11% admit they have not looked at doing it. Merely 2% say they do not find it challenging.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said: “Hiring the wrong person for the job can have significant negative repercussions for the business, with the cost of hiring the wrong applicant escalating beyond just financial repercussions. Aside from causing a setback to a company’s productivity levels, team morale and stress levels can be negatively impacted which in turn highlights the importance of having an efficient, streamlined recruitment process.”

“Determining an applicant’s suitability for a role, including technical skills, cultural fit and attitude can be challenging for any interviewer. It’s essential for hiring managers to have clear hiring criteria in mind, come to the interview prepared and implement a rigorous process in order to identify the “best fit” candidate. To keep the hiring process on point and in line with changing market demand, Singapore’s hiring managers need to regularly review their hiring policies in order to balance the recruitment process with the right level of efficiency and rigour,” concluded Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard.


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 150 CFOs in Singapore. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.