What to do when you think you’ve hired the wrong one

When launching a start-up venture or running your own small business, the recruitment process is crucial. Finding the right members of staff to make up your workforce is a vital step that requires much careful planning and consideration in order to build a team that is going to help your company prosper. However this can be a tricky process, especially when you’re just starting out so it’s important to know what to do in the event of a bad choice.  

As it is such a pivotal part of making your business a success, the recruitment process often comes hand-in-hand with a great deal of additional stress and sleepless nights so it can be tempting to just want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. But your employees are the cogs that keep the entire operation in working order so it’s essential that you invest a sufficient amount of time and energy into making the right decisions. However, we are all human and do make mistakes so we’re here to help you know what steps to take to remedy the situation.

What to do next

The risk of hiring an unsuitable employee can be minimised much earlier on by taking a few handy precautionary measures as ascertaining if an applicant is the perfect fit from one twenty-minute interview can be pretty tricky. No matter how good a person is on paper or during Q&A, it might be a whole other story when it comes to practical, hands-on work. Conducting second interviews and running a short trial period for two or three of the most promising candidates is a great way to get a feel for how they might operate in a given role.

However, the law of averages says that over the course of your time as business manager, you’re likely to make the odd mistake so here’s what to do when you’ve made the wrong choice. Once you have made a decision and exchanged contracts, it can be an extremely difficult dilemma to wriggle out of so it’s important you tread very carefully.

Try a probationary trial period – If you do spot any tell-tale signs or triggers that cause you to question your decision, it might be time to put your new addition on probation. Implementing a probationary trial period is the perfect way to give both parties chance to fully adapt but be sure to write this into their contract beforehand to avoid any unnecessary dispute.

Pull the employee to one side and explain politely that some of their behaviour has caused you alarm, then outline exactly what it is they have been doing wrong. You may well find that this is less a cause for serious concern and more a need to settle into a new way of working and fresh company values. New responsibilities, new colleagues, new processes and new systems are all daunting for new kids on the block so try a bit pf patience before making any rash decisions.

The employee might have all the expertise you require but be lacking in other areas but given the time, and maybe a bit of training, they might turn out to be the perfect fit for you and your business. On the other hand, it may transpire that despite their impressive skillet, they just don’t seem to be able to gel within the company and in this instance, it’s probably time to go your separate ways.

Know where you stand legally – Letting members of staff go can be uncomfortable at the best of times but it’s particularly tough when it’s time to admit defeat and nip your recent recruitment regret in the bud. We would always recommend getting your employee contracts overseen by a legal professional and also seek their guidance when it comes to necessary dismissals. This is true for both longstanding employees and new, unsuitable recruits.

In a piece issued by global online employment solution company, Monster, attorney Jonathan Kane advises: “As it relates to justifying a termination, small business owners and managers should maintain a consistent and accurate performance review process and document employee performance problems at the time of the problem.

“The common mistake I see is the ‘surprise’ employee termination. Employers often do not communicate on-going concerns to employees, and those that do give performance reviews often make them brief and positive.”

Take amicable measures – As well as making sure that you are doing everything by the book, it’s also advisable that you do everything you can to make the whole process as harmonious as possible. Keeping things calm and civil will both ease your conscience and protect valuable business data that the former member of staff might have had access to. If you leave the person on bad terms, feeling like they have been treated unfairly, you risk acts of revenge that could severely damage the reputation of your business.

One effective way of keeping things sweet is to guide the dismissed employee in their subsequent job search by providing in-depth critical feedback or even access to any relevant industry contacts you might have. Just because they weren’t ideal for your company doesn’t mean they won’t be the perfect fit for somebody else.

Use it as a learning curve – When all is said and done and the issue has been resolved, evaluate the situation in retrospect and look at how you can use it to shape your actions and processes further down the line. Firstly, admit that you made a mistake and recognise where you went wrong and whatever you do, don’t let it deter you from future recruitment plans. The process will help you refine and fine tune exactly what it is you do and don’t want in an employee, which can only make finding the right ones easier and easier as the business develops.

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