Help! I Hired the Wrong Person

Thursday June 11, 2020 comments


Help! I Hired the Wrong Person!

Unemployment is very high, but not as high as it was a month ago. The employment market is picking up. Still, there are people who want a job and any job will do - like a job you need to fill.

I'm in business to help organizations find solutions. BUT, I would much prefer to prevent all that by creating solutions in advance that help organizations find people who will get their mission, see their vision, and live their values. As a give-back, I enjoy helping people make transitions, get closure, and move ahead. BUT, I would much prefer to prevent all that in advance by seeing people find jobs in places that are a natural fit for them, rather than them feeling like they're having to pound their square peg selves into the proverbial round holes.

When it isn't working, there are ways to get out of a bad hire quickly without being careless. There are risks and pitfalls to avoid. BUT, the best way to avoid those is not to get into a bad hire to begin with. Here are 7 ways NOT to hire the wrong person:

  1. Employment Brand. Don’t settle for trying to be an “Employer of Choice.” Doing so speaks of a generic nice place to work, rather than something that would attract people wired like you. It speaks to entitled employees who want to know what they can get rather than team members who are looking for a big picture they can contribute to and want to be part of. It also speaks of employees looking to management to make them happy with extrinsic motivators, rather than people with an ownership mentality being motivated by intrinsic motivators.
  2. Advertise. Get the word out in appropriate places in a variety of ways. That may or may not have anything to do with traditional advertisements. Sharing with your network, posting on Social Media, enlisting current employees – these are all ways to get the word out for free. There are many others. Traditional advertising sources work well if you have a known employment brand that people want to be part of. Absent that, not so much.
  3. Say it Right. A boring ad that looks like a boring list of duties from a boring job description won’t get a lot of attention. Think marketing – because that’s what this is. Your ad or job posting should look no more like a contract than a sales proposal would. If you’ve got a job to fill, kick it into marketing mode like you would for a great potential client.
  4. Engage Your Team. Your team members can be your best sources for referrals. Rarely will your people refer a friend or relative who would embarrass them or be difficult for them to work with. You should engage your team in finding the best candidates. It’s bigger than that though. Sometimes bosses can get enamored by pedigree, skills, job history, and talent. Those are all great, but they don’t ensure fit with your organization. What you might be oblivious to, your team members might see right through. Be sure your employee selection process includes your team – not as a courtesy, but as a vital part you need.
  5. Posture. Not meaning your spine… too much. If you come off desperate with a job to fill yesterday, you will look just like all the other worried employers trying to find someone. Posture yourself, your company, your opportunity in a way that’s distinct from all that. Play a little hard-to-get. If you’ve got a good story to tell, a great team to join, and a compelling future, be picky and act like it.
  6. Working Interviews. Pretty much the only people who get interviewed regularly as part of their jobs are politicians. Some people interview well, get hired, and can't deliver. Some people are horrible at interviewing and yet would make a great addition to your team. In other words, interviewing is the most common method of employment selection, but probably the least effective. Structure your selection process to involve actual work, actual interactions, actual opportunities to observe if candidates can do what they say they can do, and do it in a way that you want it done.
  7. Get Creative. Create selection processes that are uniquely yours. Interviews, team interviews, dinners, social meet and greets, presentations, working interviews… the possibilities are endless. You want to get as true to real life as possible to see if candidates handle things the way you want them. See if you see your culture, your values, your norms, your ways in how candidates respond to whatever you ask them to do. There are ways to find people who can finish your sentences and weed out those who would change the conversation to their own.

If you find yourself in the place of having hired the wrong person, deal with it quickly, but with dignity. I have a mentor who once told me I could build my whole business model around parting ways with bad hires because everyone struggles with that. Though I’m not interested in that business model, I enjoy helping both parties find a dignified exit that lets each get closure and move on. What I really love though, is helping organizations create a tailored, scalable employment process communicated in their language to find their kind of people. Because when that happens, those organizations need less help in figuring out how to deal with the wrong person.


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