Bad Hires Happen: Preparing Before You Make Them

A lot of time, money, effort and productivity goes into hiring great people for a startup. But inevitably, not every hire your company makes will work out. Some people just don’t work out from the start, and others fade in the longer term. When hiring, take measures to prevent bad hires and have solutions ready for when they happen.

Never Stop Perfecting Your Hiring Process and Strategy

Above all, it is important to never stop perfecting your interviewing, hiring and retention strategies. Startups must constantly evaluate and adjust their interviewing and hiring processes, and learn from experience how they find, qualify and identify their best hires. Because people are not a quantifiable entity, this can be especially difficult. Hiring is one of the most challenging and highest priorities companies face, so no doubt mistakes will be made along the way. But experience, repetition testing, and adaptation will lead to better results over time.


Get Multiple Opinions and Perspectives

We are naturally drawn to people like ourselves who share our views, experiences, values and belief systems, all of which are important. They are important for hiring the right fit, but they are also biases that come into play when making hiring decisions. Having more than one perspective is the best way to see through these blind spots. Get as many people as is practical involved in the hiring process to gain a 360 degree perspective of who is being interviewed. No candidate is perfect by any means, but even if a great candidate comes through your door, your team should know as much about their flaws and shortcomings as possible.


Give Them Projects Before You Hire

Nothing is more telling than inserting a candidate into the actual work situation. Many companies have taken to serving up projects to candidates, and some even go so far as to throw them on the team for a few days to see how things go. Although this short timeframe does not paint a complete picture of your candidates, at the very least it can give you a glimpse of who you might be hiring, how they fit the team’s culture, and what to expect when on-boarding them.


Give Them A Contract Trial Before Hiring Full Time

Similar to handing candidates a project before hiring, many companies opt to bring on great candidates as contractors for a limited period of time, giving them the opportunity to be thrown into the actual mix, get their hands dirty and provide a real world view of the hire to both the company and the candidate. Although not all candidates take kindly to this approach, many see an equal opportunity to determine whether they like the company as well. In the end, if either party is dissatisfied with the arrangement, the relationship ends, the company has no obligation and the candidate has a short contract gig to show for it.


Hire With An Exit Strategy Built In

With the evolving trend of talent moving from company to company after 2 or 3 years, some forward thinking organizations have begun hiring with this trend in mind. Rather than bringing a candidate on and hoping for the best, companies are hiring for a fixed amount of time, building in the scope of work and expectations over that time period. At the end of that period, both the hire and the company can choose whether the employee should move on to a new venture or explore options for staying.

In the end, nothing can protect a company 100% of the time from making  bad hires. Sometimes employees will leave after a few months, and sometimes you have to let people go. But preparation goes a long way towards minimizing your risk and handling the situation when it arises.

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