On [Not] Hiring Well

April 9th, 2012 — 8:27am

A few days after I wrote the previous post “On Hiring Well”, I made one of my least successful hires of all time. Within days of confidently selecting that candidate it became clear it wasn’t a fit, and we had to let the person go.

These hiring “fails” happen in every business, and more often than I’d like in mine. I think it’s worth drawing a few lessons from them.

When you realize you’ve made a hire that isn’t going to be a success, it’s really important to act quickly to correct the situation. Healthy organizational cultures quickly identify who fits and who doesn’t. Respectfully and appropriately send the person out the door and on the way to a job that will be a better fit for him or her.

Ask what did we miss, and how we could we see that in future candidates before we hire them? What else did we learn?

Don’t beat yourselves up. Examine your interviewing process, but remember sometimes you can ask all the right questions and still not know how a candidate will work out until you see them in action.

Realize you aren’t going to have a 100% success rate, and you don’t need to. Do-overs may not be ideal, but they are available, and they are way better than keeping someone who doesn’t fit in your organization long term.