Hiring employees is a risky business. The entire hiring process is designed to prevent a bad hire from slipping through, yet most employers say they’ve made a bad hire in the past. So how does this happen and, more importantly, what do you do to correct the mistake of a bad hire?
How Bad Hires Happen
You’ve probably already come to accept that some job seekers lie on their resumes and applications. More than a third of employers who have made a bad hire say it was because the candidate lied during the application process.
However, employers aren’t always completely blameless. In some cases an employer may be so eager to fill the open position that they’re willing to overlook potential problems with the candidate. It’s also not uncommon for candidates who are particularly skilled at the interview portion of the hiring process to slip through without much scrutiny in other areas, including cultural fit and whether they are capable of performing the job.
How to Prevent a Bad Hire
There are a number of things employers can do to avoid hiring a potentially toxic employee. Following up with references and actually drilling down to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate, rather than simply confirming titles and dates, can go a long way.
Splitting the interview into several stages is also an effective blockade against bad hires. While the first round of interviews may be relatively brief, as candidates get closer to landing the job, stretch it out a little more. After all, you’re hiring them to work with you all day every day, not in one-hour spurts.
It also helps to get more people from the team involved in the interview process. While a skilled interviewer may be able to put on a convincing enough act to win over one interviewer, fooling an entire team is less likely.
How to Remedy a Bad Hire
Still, bad hires do happen, and in many cases letting them loose simply isn’t an option. So what can you do to make the most out of a bad situation?
The answer is almost always communication. Make your expectations as a manager clear and specific, and don’t shy away from letting the employee know when he fails to live up to them.
If behavior is the issue, make it clear what specific behaviors need to be changed. Telling an employee that he needs to start showing up on time will be more effective than asking him to improve his attitude.
If the employee isn’t living up to expectations in terms of skills and quality of work, plan extra time in his projects for additional feedback and collaboration. You may also want to work with the employee to find relevant classes or training programs that may help get him up to speed.