All hires cost money, and more money than we often realize. Not only is there the cost of the salary and benefits, but there is the cost of the office, the onboarding, and the expenses related to the role. Because the cost of hiring people to join a team, financially-minded people can wisely caution leaders to understand the “total cost” of bringing people to the team. The total cost to the ministry or the organization is much more than the salary that is offered to the individual. Wise leaders listen to the financial advisers around them. They want to understand the total cost of any moves they make, but knowing the total cost has sometimes caused leaders to work hard to reduce the cost of hiring, and sometimes to the detriment of the organization.
“A penny wise and a pound foolish” is a cliché used to describe the practice of caring about minute costs while ignoring the more substantial ones. Being obsessed with the “total costs” of a new hire while not being obsessed with getting the “right person” is being “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Here is the reality, and all leaders will at some point live with this reality: The most expensive hire you will ever make is the wrong hire. The most expensive hire is not the one whose “total cost” was greater than you initially imagined but who turns out not to be a fit with the team or a fit with the role. Here are three real costs of hiring the wrong person:
1. Lost Time
The Scripture challenges us to “make the most of the time” we have been given and to “number our days” because our days are limited. When the wrong leader is placed in a role, lots of time is squandered. Time that could have been deployed to developing someone else and time that could have been leveraged towards another initiative is lost because the time was spent (not invested) onboarding the wrong person and more time was spend offboarding the wrong person. And it is not just the senior leader’s time. Think about the amount of time from others on the team and in the ministry or organization. Lots of time is spent. Also, let’s not forget about the person who is the wrong person for the role. The person is likely a great person, but not the right fit. That person’s time could be better utilized somewhere else in some other role.
2. Missed Opportunities
When the wrong person is placed in a role, and it takes months (or longer) to realize that the person is not a fit, it typically takes many more months to get another person in the role. There are a lot of missed opportunities during that time. The term the financial or business analyst types like to use is “opportunity costs.” Opportunities are typically missed during or poorly explored during the time when the wrong person is in the role.
3. Financial Implications
Hiring two people for the same role over a short period of time is drastically more expensive than hiring the right person – no matter what the “total costs” of making the right hire the first time is. When people have asked me about the costs of using Vanderbloemen Search to find a candidate for their ministry, I have always responded that utilizing Vanderbloemen is way less expensive than hiring the wrong person. The reason I recommend Vanderbloemen to ministry leaders is that it helps them “measure twice and cut once.” Gosh, that is two clichés in one post, but it is so true. Measuring twice and cutting once is much better than being penny wise and pound foolish!