A lot goes into the hiring process - from posting the job and scanning applicants to interviewing - so when you finally make a hire, it can be both exciting and a relief. However, nothing takes the air out of your tires like realizing you may have made a grave hiring mistake. Not only is it a blow to your ego to admit you’ve made a bad hire, it also means all that time, effort and money you put into recruiting and hiring in the first place has gone to waste.
Hiring mistakes can have a particularly big impact on small businesses, where teams run lean and employees already tend to be stretched thin. Not only can bad hires cost your business money, they can also put a damper on morale and slow productivity as the rest of your staff scrambles to make up for the new employee’s shortcomings.
But take heart - mistakes happen to the best of us. Instead of looking at your hiring mistake as a setback, consider it an opportunity to learn and grow. If you recognize the signs you’ve made a bad hire, take these steps to bounce back and emerge stronger than you were before.
Step 1: Understand Why. In effort to avoid making the same mistake in the future, it’s imperative that you understand how the bad hire happened in the first place. Was it pressure to hire quickly that led you to make a hasty hiring decision? Did the candidate exaggerate their qualifications? Could you have done a better job screening the candidate? Take a moment to assess the possibilities and find out how you can avoid it in the future.
Step 2: Apply Damage Control. Before you let the employee go (and end up back at square one), think about what makes the person a bad hire. It may be that they’re the wrong fit for the role for which they were hired, but could be great fit in another role. Or perhaps they’re confused about their role and need to be onboarded properly. If they’re not performing as you hoped they would, consider creating a performance plan to bring them up to speed.
Step 3: Practice Prevention. Avoid the common mistakes that lead to bad hires. Start by streamlining your interview process. Pre-screen candidates with phone calls first, and then make sure you’re asking the right interview questions. Be sure to follow up on references and conduct thorough background checks.