Daily Decisions Costing Recruiters Money: Settling for the Second-Place Candidate

Settling for a second-place candidate means not hiring the best. When you convert the annual performance loss to dollars, it may be in the six-figure range. This figure is substantially greater than the average cost per hire that managers tend to pay more attention to. Here are five ways hiring a second-place candidate costs recruiters money.

Lower Work Performance

This is especially true if the top candidate is an innovator and the second-best candidate is not. They are less likely to work well under pressure, go above and beyond what is asked of them, and find ways to increase efficiency. Performance and capability losses over hundreds of hires can result in substantial financial losses.

Less Support of Company Culture

They may not know what your organization stands for or how it differs from the competition. If so, a second-choice candidate will not strengthen and reinforce your company mission, vision, and values for long. If they do not act according to standard company behavior, they will not promote a positive environment or serve as a proper representative of your organization. Without a strong sense of belonging, the second-choice candidate will not remain loyal to your company.

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Decreased Team Learning

A second-best candidate may not bring as much advanced knowledge, new ideas, and best practices to share as a top candidate would. If so, your team will not gain as many benefits as they would learning from them as they would the top candidate. A second-best candidate is less likely to serve as a role model for learning and implementing new information and skills.

Longer Onboarding

Because they often have fewer transferrable skills and less practical experience than a first-place candidate, they often take longer to adjust to company expectations, job responsibilities, and team goals. As a result, a second-place candidate usually needs more time to get up to speed and reach expected productivity levels than a first-place candidate. They also tend to make more errors and have adverse impacts on the business than a first-place candidate.

Shorter Odds of Becoming a Leader

This is especially true if the second-best candidate has been juggling multiple careers or has quickly changed employers in past years without valid reasons. They typically have a lower career trajectory with fewer promotions and shorter retention. A second-best candidate also may be less enthusiastic and passionate about their work, causing them to leave when things become challenging rather than stay and develop their leadership skills.

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