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5 steps to handle a bad hiring decision

Published: Tuesday 2nd March 2021

The best investment in any organisation is hiring the right people for the right roles. However, even if you revamp your recruitment process and optimise it to attract better candidates, you can’t always learn a candidate’s work chemistry or performance from just an interview. Consequently, ensuring new employees have a great first day and a smooth introduction to their new role is crucial. But it’s also equally important to know when to cut your losses and how to handle a bad hiring decision. 

Of course, hiring mistakes can happen. But the degree to which it will affect your business will depend on how quickly a decision is made and what actions you take to correct the issue. Read on to find out the 5 steps you can take in order to handle a bad hiring decision. 

Look into why this is a bad hiring decision 

If you get the feeling that someone is not fulfilling the expectations and duties of their position, it’s time to look into what makes this a bad hire. The longer you wait, the bigger the losses you’ll have to clean up and recover. But before taking further action or initiating any one-to-one discussions, dig deeper to find out why the employee is not active.

Unhappy young man worker talk with female colleague thinking doubting at office meeting.

Is it a problem of organisational adequacy or a lack of skills? Has the employee made false statements about their level of expertise or have they lied about their skills on their CV? It may as well be that you or the hiring manager made a hasty decision and overlooked possible warning signals. Whatever the reason, once you have identified the cause of the problem, you will know if and how you can resolve this issue. On the other hand, if you come to the conclusion that it cannot be solved, it may be worth considering termination of employment. 

Consider a reassignment or a role adjustment

Suppose the new employee sets a great fit for your work environment but has difficulty using a machine or software that is essential to the role. These skills can usually be taught, so a short course or some training and shadowing could solve the problem. It’s also possible that the new employee has the strength and skills for other roles in the company. Therefore, in this case, don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Instead, consider assigning them to another position or tailoring the current job description to fit their abilities in a more suited way.

You don’t want to lose someone who has the right culture and mindset, especially if they have the skills to assert themselves in another position or the determination to grow, learn and improve. It can make sense to keep the wrong people if they have real potential.

If you decide to give a bad recruit another chance, set up a performance improvement plan that sets achievable goals for them. Be clear in communicating these over regular one-to-one meetings, provide them with training and measuring their progress. 

Identify the expense of keeping the bad hire

In some situations, the negative impact on other team members or the business makes it impractical to look for other internal opportunities or to invest in ongoing development. These costs usually include reduced productivity, employee disengagement, high turnover rates or even tensions and conflict resulting in low employee/team morale. So, identify these costs and compare those impacts with the expense of replacement and onboarding for a new candidate. If kickstarting the entire recruitment process for a better hire outweighs the above, then you know your course of action. 

Unfortunately, there are times that you may not realise the negative impact of a bad hiring decision until you remove them. Trying to find a place for an employee who has made a good initial impression but does not have the necessary knowledge or skills, and therefore bottlenecks work or creates tension among colleagues may prove more costly.

Suspicious HR managers read candidate CV, doubting about experience, dissatisfied recruiters, bad hiring decision

Delegate the role’s responsibilities fairly

If you do determine that the best way forward is without a current member of your team, put a plan in place before you let them go. Delegate the role’s responsibilities across current team members fairly and equally. That way, the extra work will remain manageable for other employees and you’ll avoid a gaping hole in your business. Moreover, this will give you more time to find the right replacement.

Avoid another future bad hiring decision

Every organisation makes hiring mistakes. The key to moving forward is in learning from your mistakes and implementing a strategy to prevent it from happening again. Start with your hiring and interview process. Look into your job descriptions and list of specifications. If you don’t know where to start, consult a professional or look into reputable job boards such as Zoek to minimise irrelevant applications. This will assist you in finding the right people, with the right skills and experience for the role you are recruiting for.

Don’t forget that it’s painful for all parties when you make the wrong hire, so learn what you can about what went wrong to avoid repeating the situation, particularly because it will be crucial that the replacement works out well.

If you are looking to improve your recruitment process and minimise irrelevant candidate applications, then visit Zoek for affordable job advertising packages tailored to your business needs.

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