The Cost of a Bad Hire in Analytics: $99,000

I have been amazed lately by how many of “the usual suspects” keep getting hired in important analytics roles around the country. It bothers me because I have seen the harm and the cost that hiring these folks caused past employers.

The Usual SupsectsWho are “the usual suspects?” Analytics professionals that have all of the right words and phrases on their resumes, but the have been consistently unsuccessful.  In some cases the elevator does not quite reach the top floor.  

When Suzie from HR is reviewing resumes that came in from the LinkedIn ad, these folks enable her to check all of the boxes. They have experience – even certifications – with the right tools. They have worked for well-known companies in the past and they have well rehearsed stories about why they left each job after 3-9 months. They interview well because they never stop interviewing.

Whenever I look at a newly updated LI profile from one of the usual suspects I try to imagine how much this person has cost past employers and how much they will cost their current employer.

Here are some rough calculations:

  1. Total company hours wasted during the recruiting process: 150
  2. Hours wasted while bad hire struggles, pushes work around and finally leaves 6 months later: 1000
  3. Hours wasted by stakeholders, peers and superiors doing bad hire’s work and coaching them: 500
  4. Loss in insights for the business, traction for the analytics group and credibility with clients (internal of external): Not sure how to calculate this.

If the average person in this circle is making $100,000 per year (plus 20% taxes and benefits), the cost seems to be about $99,000 + the losses in #4 above.

If you paid a placement fee to hire the candidate the loss grows.

The loss grows some more if it takes you longer to figure out that you made a bad hire.

That is the end of my analysis.  The rest is going to be a sales pitch, so look away if you don’t want to see me bring this home.  

Given the high cost of bad hires in analytics, wouldn’t you want to work with a recruiting firm that knows all of the usual suspects?

Wouldn’t you want to work with a firm that knows the difference between a good candidate and a good resume?

By my calculations there are roughly 99,000 reasons to call IQ Workforce if you are trying to fill an analytics position.


0 thoughts on “The Cost of a Bad Hire in Analytics: $99,000

  1. Hi Corry,

    I completely agree with you, I see the same thing in Australia. Why do those who have the most experience at failing seem to get shortlisted and hired for the most roles! Have a look at my article “The Cost of a Bad Hire (and how to make one)” at

    I hope executives who need analytics professionals take your advice on board!

    Best Regards,
    Jeff Popova-Clark
    Data Scientist
    [email protected]

  2. There’s an unfortunate trickle down effect to bad hires at senior levels that ends up costing companies 2 – 3x this estimate. When you hire a usual suspect (or someone that’s not known as one yet) at the VP or director level and they are tasked with staffing their own team, they often end up convincing (1) really good people to take bad roles and hire (2) really bad contractors to get a body in the role just so the work gets done. The good people “see the light” within a few months and may end up leaving prematurely or just struggling through a year or two until they want to jump again. The really bad contractors do a lot of damage in terms of shoddy deliverables and have to be replaced quickly by those really good new hires who realize that they’ve inherited a mess. At the end of the day, a usual suspect in a hiring position can stifle the development and efficiency of an analytics team within an organization that has a ripple effect across an organization for several years.

    1. Great point Derek. At some point in the future I have to write a blog post titled, “A’s Hire A’s. B’s Hire C’s. C’s Hire Candidates from”

  3. So what’s the takeaway? What are your tips for not getting snookered and hiring better people? Hire you guys to do the hiring? 🙂

  4. I am just curious, are candidates from, or any other job search website, considered in some way “inferior” to the others,andvif yes, why? Are we moving into a job market where candidates with no network or personal connections have no chance to get a good position?

    1. Eliza, I can’t speak for the whole job market, but when it comes to analytics candidates, the honest answer is yes… I consider those with their resumes posted on or Careerbuilder to be generally inferior.

      There should be no reason for analytics professionals, who are in tremendous demand, to so publicly announce their availability for a new position. Of course there are exceptions to this, but the better analytics professionals are generally receiving job inquiries from recruiters on a regular basis and they are proactively planning their career moves.

      As for your 2nd question, I think that we have been in that situation for several years. There are enough analytics jobs out there for everyone, but the better ones are generally landed through personal and professional networks. If you expect to get a top position by posting your resume on and waiting for the HR Manager from your dream company to come and find you, you are barking up the wrong tree. Great careers depend on building skills, experience, personal brand and professional network.

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