How long does it take you to figure out you have hired the wrong person. When you figured it out, how long does it take you to fire them?

If you hire someone and they are not working out FIRE THEM AND FIRE THEM SOON!

Here is the scenario

You go through your usual hiring process (good or bad) and think you have a great candidate so you make them an offer.  They come in for their first day, do all the paperwork stuff and begin the process of getting to know their new position.  

After a week or two you become just a tiny bit concerned that things aren’t going quite as well or as fast as you had hoped.  You sit down with your new team member and ask them how it’s going and they say something like “Not too bad”, or “I am getting there”.  You continue to work with them and you hope things will get better.  

As time progresses things maybe get a little better . . . but it is not what you hoped for; not what you expected.  You are not sure it is going to work out, but you thought you did a good job of hiring and now you have so much already invested, you hate to give up.  After six months or even worse after a year your finally acknowledge to yourself that it is never going to get better and you pull the plug . . . . then looking back you look back and wish you had done it earlier. . .  

Why Firing Fast is Better

Firing people has to be the worst thing any good manager has to do.  It is an open admission of failure and yet you, your organization and the person you fire are ultimately better off for it.  Here is why:

  • For the employee – If it is not a good fit for you it is not a good fit for the employee either.  While no one ever wants to get fired, because it means a loss of income and that you need to go job hunting it is also not much fun to be working at a job that is not the right fit.  You ultimately are doing that person a favor by helping them move forward in finding a better fitting job.
  • A job that needs doing  – You hire for a position because there is work that needs to be done.  If you have someone who is not a good fit it means the work isn’t being done, at least not to the level you need.  You have to ask yourself what leaving the wrong person in that position is costing you.  It could mean lower resident satisfaction, unfilled beds or units, badly cooked food, dirty rooms or even putting resident safety in a compromised position.
  • Good money after bad – For sure hiring and training is costly, but every month that you tolerate a substandard employee you are just compounding the problem.  You are throwing good money after bad.

Not all positions are the same.  Some positions take more time than others to figure out if it is a good fit, and that needs to be factored into what firing quick means, but my bet is that if you look at your firing history you will find that most of the time you waited too long to fire.  

Most important of all, if you fire person that needs to be fired you can get on with finding and hiring the right person.  

How do you make your firing decisions?  How long do you wait?  

You might also take a look at this article from INC on-line titled:  Fire People 6 Months Before They Start Underperforming that inspired this article.  

Steve Moran  

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