How to Cope When You’ve Made a Bad Hire

Stephanie TroianoFinding Top Quality Candidates, Interview for Achievement, News

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Avoiding a “bad hire” is a standard goal for every organization. Bad hires are stressful, costly, and time-consuming. They cause emotional and practical difficulties for everyone involved and have a negative effect on productivity and growth. But how do you know if you really have a bad hire on your hands?

A seemingly bad hire might improve with time or training. The key to turning bad hires around into good performers is setting clear an measurable expectations. The moment you realize you have a potential bad hire it’s time to reset expectations. Begin with a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and review overall job expectations.

Implementing a regular training and guidance period can help reduce turnover. Setting clear and measurable expectations related to job performance and attitude can make a major impact in onboarding success and in corrective action situations. It is important to revisit these expectations regularly especially with a new hire that is failing.

It is tempting to choose a candidate who seems to need no training and provide none. But in reality, every workplace and every job will entail an adjustment period. Choose the best qualified and most wholly suitable candidate, but do not assume new hires do not need supervision or communication in the early weeks. Every candidate needs a road map for success spelled out in a set of measurable expectations.

If the same mistakes continue, the person may really be a regrettable hiring decision. A truly disruptive employee or one who presents a serious liability to your company’s success may cost more if they stay. If you are confident that training and time will not improve the situation, you must have a frank conversation about the possibility of dismissal.

The most difficult bad hire situations are often not the results of job-related mistakes. Character flaws and personality clashes usually prove to be more stressful and hazardous. Good personality and attitude assessment tests can help protect you from these issues. Situations involving poor attitude are harder to address than those based on mistakes and measurably poor performance. Clearly identify the offensive behavior and setting clear expectations about work place behavior will create a frame work for dismissal or help correct the poor attitude behaviors.

Perhaps the employee didn’t come from the outside. Usually, internal promotions and transfers can be made with more confidence than external hires. If the move turns out to be a mistake, however, the situation can prove especially difficult. Treat the situation just as you would if it were an outside hire. Thankfully, you should be able to evaluate problems more easily if the employee is more of a known quantity.

Never let a bad hire scenario continue without attempting to resolve it quickly. Your business will suffer if mistakes, a bad atmosphere, or an altogether unsuitable situation are allowed to continue. Talk to managers and coworkers about new hires, even if they appear to be doing well. Be sure to examine what is really going on, make training or general assistance an expected aspect of the on-boarding process, and involve others in helping on board new team members. If you have an unfortunate case that results in dismissal or resignation, you will have demonstrated the effort to work with the employee to be successful.

Allow a reasonable amount of time for adjustment for new hires, but address problems quickly. With a little time, clear expectations and good feedback, an employee who initially appears to be a mistake can do very well. Avoid taking longer than 90 days to make final decisions in these matters.