Small businesses are hiring on average three mismatched staff members every year, new research from Indeed reveals.
With most firms already facing challenging times in talent acquisition and retention, these findings hint at a systemic issue around the ability of UK firms to hire effectively. The most common reason for hiring unsuitable staff was a lack of employee soft skills (50%).
Soft skills include effective communication and interpersonal skills, adaptability, ability to critically think, problem solving and time management skills. Comparatively, hard skills are those technical skills associated with the job itself – 45% of businesses identified a lack of these skills as reason for mismatch.
Salary expectations (37%), expectations of the role (37%), visa requirements (36%) and a lack of flexible work options (35%) were also amongst the reasons for incorrect hires.
The research also found that small businesses (up to 49 employees) take on average 12 days to realise a new starter isn’t right for the company, compared to 18 days for companies with more than 250 workers.
An inefficient recruitment process was named the main cause of mis-hiring. Within this, receiving too many irrelevant candidates (67%) and the process being too time consuming (68%) were cited as the leading reasons for this inefficiency, highlighting the need for recruiters to ensure a detail-oriented and timely process right from writing the job description.
“Every business knows the value of hiring the right person,” says Raj Mukherjee, EVP and General Manager at Indeed. “But it’s clear from our research that there are far too many experience mismatches, and these can set companies, especially small ones, reeling backwards. The cost of making the wrong hire can be measured in hours lost and financial loss from open roles, neither of which any business can afford. Put simply, employers need help.”
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In truth, hiring the wrong candidate isn’t only time wasting for employer and candidate, it’s money wasting too. Finding the right candidate takes time, but you also don’t want to drag the process on so much that it becomes exhausting and inefficient.
Mukherjee continues: “The problem is that the hiring process is too complex, deeply inefficient and simply too slow and we know the frustration this causes employers and jobseekers. Finding quality workers should be easy.”
The rise of soft skills as a necessity
Now more than ever, employers are seeking candidates with soft skills over hard skills, the latter perceived as skills that can be easily taught on the job. Once upon a time, a sharp technical knowledge and skillset, mixed with a relevant academic degree was a recipe for the perfect candidate. Now, being able to communicate effectively and learn competently are more sought after.
We may see the desire for soft skills grow even further. With the integration of AI in the workplace we are likely to see over the next ten years, soft skills will become even more important to employers as machines begin to replace the technical aspects of a role typically associated with hard skills.