How to Avoid a Hiring Disaster

20 Aug 2017

hiring disaster

Imagine a regular work afternoon – let’s say it’s about 2:00 pm.  If you’re in marketing, you’re likely typing away on the computer – responding to emails, writing content, or planning a promotion for a client.

Now, imagine if one of your employees got up from their desk and came back with a glass of wine. Then, kept working.

What would you think? What would you do?

In case you haven’t guessed it, this situation belonged to me – and I was stunned!

Whether you’re a small business owner with a brick and mortar location, a home-based business or even a business with dozens of employees, we’ve all had bad hires.

I’ve learned a few things from my previous hiring mistakes and put those lessons to use during my recent pursuit for a personal assistant.  And, it all comes down to due diligence. This post should help you understand how to avoid disastrous hiring mistakes – no matter how desperate you are to fill a position.

Create a detailed job description. The more detail, the better. As I searched for an assistant, I sent the top applicants more specific duties related to the job. I received a response from one candidate that read, “Thank you for sending over some of the job duties. After reviewing them, I don’t foresee this opportunity being a great fit. With that being said, I’m going to need to decline moving forward with the interview this evening.”

As Ace Ventura would say, “Alrighty then…”

Ask a few follow-up questions before scheduling an interview. As I narrowed the candidates, I followed up with the promising prospects and asked specific questions about the expectations – including salary, hours and limitations. I also confirmed that they understood this was a part-time role in a home-based business. That eliminated a few more candidates.

Call references – and ask the right questions. After the interviews, I had two incredibly strong candidates. I decided to call their references to get a better sense of who could potentially take the lead. I asked three questions – the first was about their communication, which is our primary core value. The second – would you hire them again? And finally, I asked them what concerns they had when working with this person. As a reference, their knee-jerk response was ‘none.’ But I sat quietly and waited for them to keep talking. That’s when I started to hear the things that may not be so ideal.

Trust your gut. After interviewing the candidates, my gut told me the better fit for my needs. I had input from my team, but ultimately, it was my decision to make. I had sense for who it was going to be and I listened to it. I’ve made poor hiring decisions in the past and I can tell you there was something that told me this might not work. In any instance where I felt this way – and still hired – I was trying to hire quickly. And, it didn’t work out. You can’t rush this process if you want it to be effective.

Hire for attitude, train for skill. You must find someone who will fit your company culture. One of the references I talked to was a society director for over 20 years. She hired hundreds of people in her role. She said, “When you’re hiring someone, you want someone who is going to fit in. Some people will have a resume that will knock your socks off, but if they create drama or chaos, they won’t last.”

Running a web-based business with several remote contractors and employees – and with some coming on-site, as my personal assistant, it’s an interesting dynamic. No matter what your industry, people are the foundation to your future success. We must find people who want to be accountable.

Have you hired – or fired – in the past? Share your lessons! In fact, I would love to hear your craziest hiring story!


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