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You've Made a Bad Hire -- Now What?

May 28 , 2019

Man sitting at a desk looking at documentation.

Even the best hiring managers sometimes make a bad hire. Candidates may misrepresent themselves, then find they can't do the job once they have it. Other times, the new hire has qualities that make it hard for them to fit in and work well with your existing team. 

How to Deal With a Bad Hire

Whatever the reason for a bad hire, you have to figure out what to do about it and how to make it right. The first step to dealing with a bad hire is to determine the cause. The steps you will take to fix a bad hire can be different depending on whether the worker lacks skills needed for the job, isn't getting tasks completed, or just seems unable to fit into your culture.  

It usually becomes clear within the first 30 to 45 days that a hire is struggling or performing poorly, and it's important to take action sooner rather than later. Any problems that do exist will only get worse if you give them more time. 

If the employee seems to lack the necessary skills to perform well, you may be able to provide training and help that would enable them to succeed. Another course of action may be to require them to take courses that would improve their skills. Minor skills gaps can often be addressed to turn the hire from a problem to a success.

In larger companies, it might be possible to reassign bad hires to a department or position that would make better use of their skills and abilities. There's always a chance that reassignment will not be well-received by the employee and that they will leave the company altogether, but in some cases, it can be a good solution that doesn't require termination.

Two people shaking hands.

The time and money spent to hire a new employee make it worthwhile to fix skills gaps where possible to salvage the hire, but in some cases, that won't be possible. If you do decide that termination is the only way to fix a bad hire, you should document the problems that are occurring so you have a paper trail if the employee pursues legal action against the company for wrongful termination. 

Giving clear feedback and setting clear expectations are important steps that need to be taken before termination occurs, and those should also be documented to show that the termination wasn't arbitrary and was based on lack of performance. 

It's important to follow through on termination when efforts to fix the situation have failed or when you and others in leadership have determined that the situation just can't be fixed. Keeping a bad hire indefinitely because you are afraid to terminate will negatively affect overall morale and may even lead to loss of other team members affected by the poor performance. 

GDH Consulting offers recruiting services to help you make better hiring decisions. Contact us for more information about how our expertise can help your recruiting and hiring success.