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  • Writer's pictureSubha

The Pain Value Of A Bad Hire, And What To Do About It

The Pain Value Of A Bad Hire

It happens to the best of managers- we hire the person who seems best fit for a job, only to realise later just how wrong we really were. This is also a tricky problem to solve because no one sets out to hire the wrong candidate. So we are left with a range of emotions and a real mess.


For one, the cost of training, hiring and then firing an employee can be quite high, both in terms of money and the time lost in giving the person a second chance. However, in today’s fluid times, it isn’t always easy to scope out a job thoroughly before you hire, nor is it certain that someone who has the right skills will succeed in said role. Here are a few signs that you’ve hired the wrong person for the job: You have a complainer on your hands. We all need a fair amount of certainty in our jobs and our lives. However, if you’ve mentioned that a certain job involves travel but the person is always finding excuses not to go, you have a problem. Complaints can also come in about not gelling with the team, being too pushy/ complacent, etc. As a manager, only you know if these problems are real, but if you get the sense that they are, do what you need to.

The employee doesn’t believe in the company’s vision. Do note that this problem can sometimes be attributed to bad leadership, too. Money alone is rarely a motivator for people. However, if a disengaged employee is spreading the bad feeling around and influencing others around them, it may be time to call time on the relationship.

You’ve let the hiring process go on for too long. Why is this bad? Because any job description loses value about three months into its creation. It is very likely that the business needs have now changed and hiring for the past is not going to help anymore. The new person is likely unprepared for where you currently stand, which means that they will have a hard time catching up.

​Ways To Fix The Hiring Mistake

1. Have an open conversation:

​It is important not to turn this into an exercise in passing blame. It is very likely that this other person has also been sensing the discomfort and has been waiting to let you start the conversation. Also, a solution doesn’t always mean letting the person go. So, sit down and have a conversation to see how this person can be assisted in doing better.

2. Offer focused feedback and mentorship:

Attach this person to someone with similar interests and allow for peer feedback to come through naturally. You can also consider assigning a senior employee as a mentor to this person. However, these people should also be asked to offer specific, workable feedback as opposed to criticism and one-sided conversations.

3. Consider the cost of letting go:

This is especially important in the context of resources you have already invested too much in. You need to consider whether it is more expensive to have them continue or to let them go. Sometimes, we all make the human mistake of thinking that since we’ve already invested so much in someone, it is better to let them continue. However, it may actually be wiser to let them go instead of spending too many resources on them.

4. Make severance a happy process: Severance and happy aren’t usually two words that go together but make the negotiation as transparent as possible to avoid backlash later. Firing an employee also makes the others insecure about their jobs, so make the process completely smooth and transparent for everyone even remotely involved.

Try and avoid bad blood by aiding this person in looking for a job that is better-suited for them. You may not want to recommend them, but a good word on the strengths they do have can help build a positive relationship and spread the good word about your company.

Have you ever had a bad hire? At what point did you realise that you had to let them go?

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