How to learn from a bad hire

Three people having a meeting. How to learn from a bad hire by TienDat Nguyen on Unsplash

How to learn from a bad hire and make the right decision next time

Whether you fudged your recruitment process or simply got unlucky, there are ways you can learn from a bad hire.

So, you hired the wrong person. This kind of mistake is incredibly common, and although it hurts to waste the time and money you put into that hiring process, there are things that you can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

How do you identify a bad hire?

A bad hire should stand out like a sore thumb in their first few weeks.

Bad hires might:

  • Struggle with their time management and productivity
  • Be slow out of the gate and miss deadlines
  • Dislike their job immediately
  • Show little passion or energy for their job

As a busy founder or manager it can be hard to notice these signs before it’s too late. But what’s most important is to figure out why it didn’t work out with your hire.

How to learn from a bad hire

After you have identified your bad hire, you can begin to look forwards.

Before you repost your old job description and get ready to sift through hundreds of applications, take a second to think about what you can learn.

1 – Review your hiring process

You’ve clearly just accidentally attracted the wrong kind of person to your company, so it’s a wise move to reassess your hiring process. This will often include tweaking the job description slightly, switching up your interview questions and even your application task.

It seems obvious, but the process is there for a reason. And it’s not just to find the best applicant. It’s to find the best applicant for you.

So it’s always a good idea to take a look into every step of the process to see where you rushed, skipped and why you made every decision you did.

We’ve found that people often hire the wrong person when they rush the process. So did you give your top candidates an application task? Did you hold at least 2 interviews and get a second opinion? Did you collect references?

Hopefully you kept records of every interview and big decision you made, otherwise this section could be difficult.

2 – Look into your decisions

Whether you were influenced by approaching deadlines, a shrinking budget or your gut feelings, it’s always a good idea to look into what drove you to hire the wrong person.

There is always something we can learn from hiring, but ultimately your process will control the decisions you make.

Whether your top candidate dropped out and caused you to make a snap decision, or whether your gut took control of things, we can always make plans for when these things happen again.

  • Have a plan ready just in case your front runner pulls out of the process. This could look like having a backup list of applicants to interview.
  • Sometimes you have to re-start the process to truly find the right candidate. This can take extra time and money but is always worth it in the end.
  • If you’re someone that’s heavily influenced by your gut feelings, take your hiring decisions slowly and always do interviews with another person that you trust. That way you can discuss candidates and come to a mutual decision that’s more based on the candidate’s skills than their personality.

3 – Assess your onboarding process

Sometimes the problem isn’t in the hiring, but the onboarding and inducting of new employees.

Onboarding is a crucial stage that can either set your new hire up for success or leave them confused, isolated and dependent on others.

So take the time to review your onboarding process and make note of anything missing, confusing or that just didn’t work.

Get ready to hire again

After you’ve gone through the hard process of letting a new hire go, employing someone again is a little intimidating. What if you make the wrong decision?

The only thing you can do is ensure that you learn from your past mistakes. If the hiring process you used last time didn’t work, maybe you should advertise somewhere new or test your candidates in a different way.

Where should you go to hire someone new?

Our team of experienced recruiters will help you source and screen candidates until you find the right one for you. And if it doesn’t work out, we can find you a replacement for free.

About post author

Hi, I'm Daisy. I'm using my passion for writing to work with DigitalGrads on their content and social media campaigns.
Posted in Hiring Graduates