5 years ago
March 5, 2019

Why Hiring Mistakes in Sales Are Even More Costly Than You Think

No one wants to make a hiring mistake, but companies across all industries continue to feel the crunch of making a bad hiring mistake. Hiring mistakes can not only hurt…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

No one wants to make a hiring mistake, but companies across all industries continue to feel the crunch of making a bad hiring mistake. Hiring mistakes can not only hurt you now, but they can also hurt you for the long term. It can particularly hurt sales companies because of the huge impact a single sales professional can have on the organization.

“Investing time and effort to improve sales effectiveness will pay big dividends. There is no single area where the impact can be greater than in hiring and retaining the right sales talent. Just getting the correct talent can double overall firm revenue with no incremental headcount,” says Daniel Wienfurter on LinkedIn Sales Blog.

While there is a lot written about the monetary impact of making a hiring mistake, the effects are felt at a much deeper level and they can be more costly than you think.

The issue is, even if you have a strong sales recruiting process, bad hires aren’t always easy to spot. Here we’ll discuss some of the common hiring mistakes companies make in their quest to find the perfect sales candidate, and outline the top reasons why hiring mistakes have much more than a financial impact on your organization.

Why Are Hiring Mistakes So Costly in Sales?

Most sales teams follow a similar pattern. There are the top sales reps who bring in the most sales and perform well, while the rest of the team struggles to meet the quota. At the bottom, there are reps who are not qualified for the role and fail to consistently perform up to company standards.

Wienfurter explains:

“In many (I’d argue most) companies today, there is still a version of the 80/20 rule that exists. A small minority of the sales organization typically produces a disproportionate level of the results.”

Can you imagine how much better a company could perform and how many fewer internal issues they would have if they could correct only a few of the hiring mistakes they make?

“The quality of talent a firm is able to hire and deploy is the most important business discipline and the only sustainable competitive advantage for a business,” Weinfurter adds.

Common Hiring Mistakes Made by Sales Organizations

  1. Being reactive and taking an ad hoc approach to hiring
  2. Using dated hiring strategies and techniques
  3. Lack of a consistent and repeatable hiring process
  4. Rushing the hiring process
  5. Lack of an ideal candidate profile – not sure what you are looking for
  6. Hiring bias by the hiring manager or HR team

Why Hiring Mistakes in Sales Are Even More Costly Than You Think

While it’s important, hiring mistakes are not just about the money. There are many additional ways a hiring mistake can negatively affect your organization.

“While the financial impact is quantifiable, chief financial officers actually rank a bad hire’s morale and productivity impacts ahead of monetary losses. Why? A bad apple spoils the bunch, so to speak. Disengagement is contagious, which may be why employers can’t seem to defeat it,” says Falon Fatemi on Forbes.

Here are the top reasons why a hiring mistake in sales has more far reaching effects than most realize:

1. The New Hire Is Disengaged

Hiring the wrong person for the job not only affects your organization, it affects the new hire. A poor fit can cause the new employee to quickly become disengaged, which will negatively affect their performance and it can rub off on others within the company.

2. Poor Productivity

Whether the new hire lacks the required skills, does not have the experience they claimed, or is just a poor cultural fit for your company, their performance will suffer. You not only have a new employee to manage, but you also have a new employee who is producing less than you expected, and someone you will have to spend more time with, thus forcing other sales team members to pick up the slack.


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3. Significantly Longer Training and Coaching Time

When a new employee is not producing up to the expected standard, team leaders will typically spend additional time trying to ramp them up and improve productivity. But this also leaves them less time to work with the rest of the team and potentially takes time away from other priorities. Less work will get done, or additional time will be required, to make up for the shortcomings.

4. Employee Burnout

With team leaders and employees spending time trying to make up for shortcomings of a bad hire or poorly performing team member, they can get burnt out from pulling more weight and taking on additional work. They could also start to feel resentment. Burnout can lead to a number of other issues, such as disengagement, lost productivity, poor morale, and more.

5. Turnover

When you, as the recruiter, make a bad hiring mistake, you not only risk losing the person you just hired, you risk losing other valuable employees, especially if the new hire is in a management role. Employees don’t mind taking on additional work and helping a new employee ramp up, but if they have to consistently make up for a team member’s shortcomings and are not recognized for the extra effort, they could start to look elsewhere for a better role. If someone quits, you have to start the hiring process again to hire a replacement.

6. Negative Impact on Organizational Culture

Poorly performing employees can create chaos for company culture. They lower the bar, alter performance expectations and can cause others to disengage. Bad habits creep into the culture and change how your culture operates on a day-to-day basis.

7. A Hiring Mistake Can Create a Chain Reaction

As you can see, hiring a bad candidate can have a negative chain reaction. It can lead to lower levels of engagement, require leaders to spend more time on coaching and training, put more pressure on your employees to pick up the slack, creating a bottleneck, and cause your top talent to start thinking about making career moves. All of these costly effects can –and will – show up on the company bottom line eventually.

Break this chain reaction by investing more time and effort into hiring the best candidates each and every time.

Tips to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

If you want to minimize the number of hiring mistakes you make in the future, you need to get your recruiting process right:

  1. Know the type of candidate you need to fit the job AND company culture
  2. Have a detailed and well thought out interview process
  3. Always be on the lookout for top sales talent
  4. Consult with professional sales recruiters

Get More Sales Recruiting Advice

Don’t Make These Hiring Mistakes! 4 Mistakes Sales Recruiters Should Avoid in an Interview

5 Unprofessional Habits That Kill Your Chances of Getting the Best Candidate

How to Close a Star Candidate: 5 Tips from a Sales Recruiter

5 Ways Sales Recruiting Agencies Help Companies Hire Great Employees

Why You Should Partner with a Top Sales Recruitment Agency


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.