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The Hidden Dangers of Hiring the Wrong Entry-Level Employees

front-line employees in a manufacturing setting

The Hidden Dangers of Hiring the Wrong Entry-Level Employees

Every organization, whether a budding startup or a global conglomerate, knows that its most valuable asset is its workforce. While much attention is often given to the recruiting and retention of senior-level professionals, there's another category of employees that, when overlooked, can pose significant risks to a business: entry-level employees.  The biggest areas of concern for entry-level employees are (1) poor interpersonal skills, (2) poor personal management and (3) poor problem-solving skills.  

Many leaders mistakenly view hiring at this level as low-risk, low-impact. However, hiring the wrong entry-level employees can be particularly harmful for several reasons.

Here's why:

Foundation for the Future: Entry-level employees represent the future of any organization. They are the potential next generation of team leads, managers, and perhaps even executives. If you start with individuals who aren't the right fit or lack the potential to grow, you’re setting up a shaky foundation for the organization's future.

  • Cultural Implications: Every new hire, regardless of their level, contributes to the organization's culture. The wrong entry-level hires can create a ripple effect of negative attitudes, lackluster work ethics, and a resistance to adapt to the company's values. Over time, even a small number of such individuals can negatively influence their peers, leading to a diluted or distorted company culture.

  • Training and Development Costs: Training a new employee requires time, resources, and money. When an organization brings in the wrong entry-level employee, they are essentially investing in someone who might not yield a long-term return on that investment. This not only wastes the initial training costs but also demands additional resources to address performance issues or retrain.

  • Decreased Morale and Productivity: Team dynamics play a critical role in the overall productivity of a group. An entry-level employee who doesn’t mesh well with their peers or superiors can disrupt the harmony of a team. This can lead to decreased morale, which in turn, can negatively impact productivity and overall team performance.

  • Increased Turnover Rates: Hiring the wrong person often leads to higher turnover. Continuously recruiting, hiring, and training new employees can strain HR and management resources. Moreover, frequent changes in personnel can hinder team cohesion and long-term project planning.

  • Clients and External Perceptions: Entry-level employees often have more direct interactions with clients than their senior counterparts might think. They could be on the front lines of customer service, sales, or support. If they aren’t the right fit, it’s not just an internal issue; it could lead to tarnished external perceptions and lost business opportunities.

  • Opportunity Cost: Every time you hire the wrong person, you miss out on the chance to hire the right person. This means that while you're managing the repercussions of a bad hire, you might be losing out on potential innovations, efficiencies, or opportunities that the right employee could have brought to the table. According to Forbes, it can skill a business.


Connecting Personal Attributes to Personal, Position and Team Success

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to vet entry-level employees during an interview.  

During interviews, people are at their best.   Plus, candidates are coached on how to answer, just like this Indeed article covers.

Rarely, do we see “the best” personal attributes show up regularly at work.  Employers must be able to objectively uncover the intensity of three personality traits.   Will the new hire tend to be. . .

  1. Blunt and direct or more pleasant and engaging?

  2. Not interested in learning new skills or have an eagerness’ to learn?

  3. Disengaged and unreliable or dependable and hardworking?

Employers hiring individuals that are blunt, unreliable, and not interested in learning are just asking for trouble for all the aforementioned reasons.   

Many assessments fall short because they only capture individuals' self-reported behavioral tendencies, which might not always be relevant. Or worse, an individual may fake a free-choice assessment (see our blog post: The Pitfalls of a 5-minute free-choice behavioral assessment).

Regardless, most assessments fail to reveal how individuals will collaborate with others, be dependable, adjust to new environments, or respond under stress. Furthermore, the "free choice" nature of some assessments allows candidates to select words that they believe will favor their candidacy, essentially manipulating the evaluation. Although an experienced interviewer might detect such tactics, this approach is inherently risky and prone to errors.

Companies need entry-level workers to be pleasant, eager to learn and dependable.   Why not measure for exactly this?


Objectively Assess New Hires Easily and Cost Effectively

How can hiring the wrong person be prevented?   Simple:  Deploy an objective assessment.   The difficulty is an external objective assessment is costly, time-consuming and requires staff expertise to deploy and decipher.

  • Does this type of assessment exist?    Yes.   Talent Authority offers it.

  • Can it be deployed to just one candidate?   Yes

  • Can we deploy it to all new candidates?   Yes

  • How much does it cost?   Approximately $25 per assessment

  • Do we need to map what a job requires?   No

  • Is it hard to decipher?   No (see the five measurements below): overall, fit recommendation, people skills, learning skills and work ethic.

  • How long does it take to take the assessment?   Approximately 10 minutes.

  • Do we need a license, special certification or commitment?   No

  • Is this assessment recommended for non-entry level?   No.   We have others that are much more effective given the open position.

four measurement gauages are shown

After Hiring:

Assessments do not take the place of good leadership and organizational practices to help new-hires be successful.  Below are some recommendations:

  • Establish a Mentorship Programs: Pair new hires with experienced employees. This not only helps in faster onboarding but also in identifying potential red flags early on.

  • Initiate Consistent Feedback Loops: Regularly check in with both new hires and their teams to gauge fit and performance.  

  • Set Up a Development Plan:  the new hire should have a 14, 30, 60 and – in some cases – a 180-day development plan with progress and performance measures so the leader and the direct report know they are on track.

  • Invest in Training: A robust training program can bridge skill gaps and align new hires with the company's values and objectives

  • Shore up Frontline Leader Skills:   These individuals are typically promoted with little to no leadership development.   Be sure frontline leaders are prepared to lead, communicate, coach, resolve conflict, engage, and discuss change with new hires and incumbents alike.


In conclusion, while entry-level positions might seem like low-stakes roles, they hold significant importance in shaping the future trajectory of an organization. It's crucial to recognize the potential pitfalls of hiring the wrong individuals for these roles and take proactive steps to ensure each new hire is a valuable addition to the team.

Talent Authority Note: If you are seeking any pre-hire assessment, including an entry-level assessment, please schedule time to speak to us to discuss your objectives and we can recommend one that meets your needs.

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