Small business owners and other entrepreneurs routinely pour 50 hours a week or more into their businesses. They’re under pressure to make decisions all day long and mistakes can produce substantial negative consequences.

Take a bad hire as your case in point. A bad hire will soak up your time in managing conflicts, dealing with productivity drops, and even apologizing to customers for the bad hire’s errors or behavior. For the time-starved entrepreneur, the cost of a bad hire is high on all kinds of metrics.

That leaves the open question of how to avoid bad hires. If you’re looking for ways to maximize good hires, keep reading for some key tips.

Signs of a Bad Hire

One of the things you can do is keep an eye out for signs of a bad hire before you actually hire someone. For example, they come into the interview unprepared. If they don’t prepare for that, you can expect equally shoddy work on the job.

The candidate can’t come up with specifics about their achievements. While memory fades with time, a candidate should remember at least some salient details about past achievements.

While every business is different, some estimates put the average cost of a bad hire at around 30% of that employee’s first year of salary. So, spotting them ahead of time is always beneficial.

You can also outsource some of the process to recruitment agencies and let filter out some of the bad fit candidates for you.

They Don’t Ask Good Questions

A good candidate will come to the interview with at least one or two salient questions. For example, they might ask how their department handles project management. Good candidates will generally ask at least one or two questions about the breakdown of their duties.

Bad candidates will routinely focus on questions that only apply to them and their quality of life. They’ll ask about things like holidays, benefits, or bonuses. That’s a solid indicator that they’re far more interested in themselves than in the work or the business.

They Won’t Fit into the Culture

There is a distinction between a bad hire and a bad hire for your business. A really talented candidate may walk through your door, ask the right questions, and still end on the bad hire list.

It’s not their skills or interests, but their personality. Someone who is very serious and buttoned-up may not blend well if you maintain a fun, casual atmosphere. It’s simply a culture mismatch.

Taking a pass on these candidates spares you and them an unfortunate work experience.

Sidestepping the Bad Hire

A bad hire can end up as a drain on your time, money, and patience. Fortunately, you can sidestep bad hires.

You can watch out for warning signs, like poor preparation for the interview and me-focused questions. Consider culture fit as part of the hiring process. If in doubt, outsource some of the process to professional recruiters.

Looking for more business tips? Check out some more of our posts over in the Business section.