If you’ve had an open job for a while and find that you’re doing the extra work that the person in that vacancy could be doing, then there’s a real strong temptation to find the nearest breathing human being and put the in that job. I think we’ve all done it. In fact, I think at one time I envisioned holding up a mirror to someone’s mouth in the interview. If they fogged it, they got the job.
Let’s just say this is a baaaaad plan. If you hire someone fast, without checking references or without making sure they have not only the skill, but the attitude to do what you need them to do and do it well in the near future, all you are doing is adding to your workload. Add to this the reality that in your office, someone may need a congressional order to be fired and you are truly asking for trouble.
Instead be slower to hire. Screen your candidates carefully. Ask them in the interview to tell you stories of instances in which they have done what you know will be their responsibilities. The stories of their experiences are more difficult to make up, far more revealing, and will get you greater quality of information than something as brilliant as “Tell me about your weaknesses.” Clearly I don’t like that question, but it’s only because it is the one lied about the most. If someone says “I’m a workaholic” or “I’m a perfectionist” and they’re calling it a weakness then they’re telling you what you want to hear. Well, that or I’m in big trouble!
Okay, moving on, when you take careful time and diligent consideration to make sure that you have right person in the job or the right person on the bus, as Jim Collins says, then you will have the next 2 weeks to 2 months to devote to training so that they have the greatest chance of success. Sometimes it’s a gut instinct, sometimes it’s a personal referral and sometimes it’s a resume out of the stack. But any of those rushed through the process of making sure they have the right attitude AND skill, will likely back fire on what you intended to be a solution to a job opening problem. And if, in fact, you’ve made the mistake of hiring that wrong person, get them out of there as soon as possible. You know it’s not a good fit, and usually so do they so why prolong the inevitable. Free them up for new opportunities to grow elsewhere and free up your time to focus on the search once again. In fact, my experience has shown that prolonged time in the wrong position will result in setting a precedent. An employee might resist being let go if they’ve been there long enough for you to stew on the problem, but not say anything. They might tell you they are surprised you are letting them go and might even create more problems down the road. The best policy is to take a longer time to hire than you might like so you make sure you’ve made the right decision. And much like we mentioned in last week’s Monday Moment – hiring someone is one of those decisions that if made under stress, often results in a bad decision.