10. Not having “backup” candidates. This means continuing to interview even though a great candidate may have been found. In fact, we recommend having three great candidates in the queue.
As happens too often, a hiring authority zeroes in on one candidate, and as the interviewing process drags on (see #4), the hiring authority quits interviewing because it is a pain. They get to the end of the process, make an offer, and it isn’t accepted. The frustration of having to start all over is astounding. So the solution is to keep interviewing until someone is hired - and has started the job. We simply expect that a good candidate is going to get multiple offers.
10 (a) Not firing a new hire when the hiring is obviously a mistake. This is a tough mistake to make. Everyone wants to see a new employee make it. But too often, cutting new hires too much slack because they are new is a mistake. The numbers of failed new hires we have seen that were let go or quit six or seven months after their hiring, with the hiring authority complaining, “I saw it in the first week!” would make us all cry. It becomes disruptive to the business, it destroys the chemistry of the employees working with the new hire, and worst of all, everyone can detect it, but the hiring authority chooses to overlook it. Respect for the hiring authority diminishes, and eventually the new employee leaves or is fired.
The solution that better hiring authorities adopt is to keep new employees in line in the very beginning, even “over manage” a bit. If disregard for company policies, or poor work habits, like showing up late, missing work, having numerous “personal” problems, emerge in the first few weeks of employment, it isn’t going to get any better. Besides, the “honeymoon” isn’t even over.
There is a big difference between “rookie” mistakes and poor work habits, low integrity, bad manners, or serious personal problems that impinge on work. Even the most rigorous interviewing process and extensive reference, background, and credit checking can’t prevent this from happening.
One of the most successful hiring authorities we worked with years ago had a great philosophy. He was the most successful general manager of a nationwide insurance company. And he was that for 15 years in a row. He managed 110 people, directly and indirectly. He told me one time that he wasn’t successful because he hired better people than the other GMs around the country. The difference was that he fired people “when he first got the inkling.” He simply didn’t waste his time on people he knew weren’t going to make it.
The sense of when to fire a new employee is personal. Good managers know when to do it. Hire carefully, but fire quickly! If a bad hire is made, eliminate it quickly. The hiring authority will look like a true manager, and everyone is better off.