You Get What You Pay For

By Joyce Bethoney on August 14, 2014

I’ve been in creative recruiting for 11 years, and in my experience, the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” rings most true when making hiring decisions.

Far too often I see hiring managers, even at large, publicly traded companies, opting for the junior-level candidate for a mid-level role, or a mid-level candidate for a senior role. Not because of a unique skill set, but because of the low price tag (read: salary) that comes with it. And while you think you might be doing the right thing and saving your company money, there are two key pitfalls that come along with hiring below your needs:

1) Productivity – Time is money. And the time it takes for tenured, senior-level teammates to teach and correct someone who is not the right fit for a role is the time they could be doing the job they were hired to do. This isn’t about abandoning mentoring and training. There are many junior-level positions where training is needed. This is about hiring an appropriately priced and skilled hire for a role where the person is expected to hit the ground running and add value right away.

2) Morale – Inserting inexperienced folks into roles where some (or a lot of) experience is required, will drag down the morale of peers who are still expected to perform at a higher level. Bringing on a person that everyone else is expected to “carry” is a recipe for an unhappy team. You have heard of the expression “one bad apple ruins the bunch”? Don’t embrace the misconception that the inexperienced person will rise to meet their senior-level counterparts. The less experienced person will drag your valued employees down.

In many instances, hiring young, green workers makes perfect sense. However, if the candidate you prefer has a bit of a higher salary requirement and more experience, choose that candidate. It is so important that skills and experience are commensurate with the position. While the bottom line cannot be ignored, focusing entirely on budget does not consider the real cost to your company, your projects and your team when a hire is, in fact, too junior for the job.

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