What to Do When You Realize You Made a Bad Hire  

22 August 2018:

Sometimes it happens that a candidate who had the right credentials, seemed to fly through the interview process, and had lovely references turns out to be an unexpected problem after hiring. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky, because only 19% of new hires are considered fully successful, according to a frequently cited study, and by the 18-month point 46% are deemed failures.

If you’ve been in this situation, you’ve had to face the dilemma of whether it’s worse to be stuck with an employee who can’t handle the work and is damaging to the team, or to go public with the admission that you’ve made a significant mistake. Usually in these situations it’s less costly to make a change, and the sooner you make it, the better. Although coping with the impact of a bad hire will never be easy, following these steps will help you recover and move on with the least possible damage to all parties.

Prepare for a direct, and probably uncomfortable, conversation with the new hire. Rather than hoping for the best, or trying to deter a confrontation, leveling with the new hire about your dissatisfaction and their performance issues can open the way to joint problem solving. By sharing your concerns and asking for their input, you may be able to discover workable alternatives, or at least understand how bad the situation truly is. You can start off with something like, “James, I want to talk about the last few weeks, and where we seem to be on track and where we need to make some adjustments.” Keep in mind that the new employee may recognize the same problems that you do and be grateful for the opportunity to clear the air and work on a solution together.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

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