Help! I Hired the Wrong Person!

Monday September 26, 2016 comments

In the space of 1 week I heard this 3 times from 3 different companies. It's easier to make a mistake in a low unemployment employees' market.

I'm in business to help organizations find solutions. I enjoy helping people make transitions, get closure, and move ahead. 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.

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.” That speaks of a generic nice place to work, rather than something that would attract people wired like you. That speaks of 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. That 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 through a variety of ways. That may not 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. Posture. Not meaning your spine… too much. If you come off desperate in a low unemployment market, you will look just like all the other worried employers trying to find someone willing to talk to them. 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 compelling future, be picky and act like it.
  5. Test. I read an article from a staffing company recently that said due to the low unemployment market, companies should relax their standards, omit their assessments, and lower the barrier to entry to speed up the employment process and avoid losing good candidates. Wow. Don’t do that. Sure, make it as accessible and quick as possible, but unless you want to hire mediocrity, you should expect what you always have. Don’t lower your standards unless you really want less.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 through. Be sure your employee selection process includes your team – not as a courtesy, but as a vital part you need.

If you find yourself in the place of having hired the wrong person, deal with it quickly, but with dignity. If you need help, call me. 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 being the sole focus, 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 dealing with the wrong person.


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