The cost of mediocre talent on your architecture firm.

You have a choice to make. Do you turn the new candidate away or do you take on work knowing there are gaps in staff because of the tight labor market? Being the owner of a firm, like you, it is very hard for me to turn down business/money. The battle between the do and the do not has consequences that go far beyond getting a client. If allowed to, it can influence your hiring. And if you hire in a rushed need to win business you run the risk of eroding the very foundation of you firm.

In the moment is when the mistake is made. Instead of focusing on recruiting the brightest and most talented candidates in the market, too many business leaders simply settle for replacing their lost staff with anyone who is able to complete the basic functions of that job. You are gearing down to a slower gear with this hire and it is very challenging to get to the speed you want your firm to reach in a lower gear. The most successful firms share a different hiring philosophy. They see an opportunity for growth when it comes to hiring because their goal is to fill their team with candidates who are even better than the last and can do the job more effectively. So, before you settle for mediocre talent, first consider just how much bad hires are costing your business.

Slowed Production

The production of projects, which is overall production of the company, is diminished with bad hires. Either the employee is not skilled in production or has a challenge learning your firm’s process. This causes firm leaders and their teams to invest vast amounts of time in training, or worse, doing the work for the new hire that could otherwise be spent on current production needs and training sharp new talent. If those hires don’t pull their weight, it will result in your brand losing its market share.

Wasted Resources

Training is a key to success for any organization. But they are also a significant expenses for businesses. When training must be repeated it is not only a waste of time by the expense hit the bottom line. I always recommend doing whatever it takes to attract and land the best candidates on the market. One that is worth the possible money investment, rather than constantly retraining bad hires who wind up leaving or being let go. Some firms fall into the routine of settling for candidates who are unemployed and actively looking for work. Most talented architects and designers are already employed, so it takes a very specialized approach to recruit those passive candidates. You have resources and you must use those resources on your business. Don’t use them the wrong way, settling for sub-par talent.

Damaged Culture

Hiring lackluster talent will eventually become detrimental to the culture of a firm. Bad hires are notorious for lowering morale and spreading disengagement throughout organizations. This often results in more pressure on those high producing team members that you already have working for you leading them to burnout.


Businesses can overcome their habit settling for mediocre talent in many ways. Creating a hiring standard is one way, developing strong interview questions that identify risk is another, as is working with a recruiter who has a profound understanding of the needs and culture of architecture and design firms. A good industry recruiter knows what kind of people to bring in and when to make a move. It’s currently a candidate’s market, so it’s critical for firms to work all options to find and hire the best talent they can.

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