9 Quick Steps to Take If You Think You’ve Made the Wrong Hire

These suggestions can help determine an appropriate plan of action, if you are having second thoughts about hiring an employee

Wrong Hire
(Image: iStock.com/shironosov)

When you start to sense that an employee may not be a good fit for your company, what is the first thing you should do?

The following answers have been provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.


1. Examine the Role

“Make sure that it’s not the role you’ve created that’s the problem instead of the employee. Sometimes, in workplaces, roles can develop organically out of needs that have a toxic amount of stress and uncertainty tied to them. When someone gets foisted into this role, they can be blamed for problems that are better fixed by restructuring the responsibilities of the office.”

Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

2. Have an Honest Conversation

“I like to have an honest conversation about some of the concerns I’m seeing or their manager is seeing by having them in the conversation, as well. I find it important to make sure the person knows we don’t only see the challenges, but also see the highlights of their performance. We leave with a follow-up date to assess improvement and keep notes of infractions, goals, and outcomes.”

Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

3. Wait and See If the Feeling Continues

“It may well be that you are having a hectic day or aren’t in a good frame of mind. Your employee may be experiencing the same thing. If you get the sense that they are not a good fit during times like this, you could be making a decision based on emotion, rather than reality. Wait and see if you have that same feeling on other days. Then, it might warrant some serious consideration.”

Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

4. Cut Your Losses

“That would depend on how they are not a good company fit. Is it cultural, skill, or interest? Skill can be taught, if the interest is there. Aligning cultural values can be hard, but very doable through coaching between the manager and the employee. If it’s interest level, you best cut your losses as quickly as you can. The slow-to-hire, quick-to-fire rule applies there, although easier said than done.”

Magnus Simonarson, Consultwebs

5. Let Them Decide

“Hiring for fit right from the onset should be the focus, rather than hard skills, as those can be taught and attitude cannot. However, if after onboarding you get a feeling that your perfect candidate may not be the fit you thought they were, have a casual follow-up interview with them to see how they still feel about their role and the company. Let them come to their own decision on what’s next.”

David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

6. Coach Up or Coach Out

“Trust your leadership and trust your instincts. If someone (potentially) isn’t a fit for the company, it’s important to get to action immediately and get onto a path where that person can either be a great contributor or can go someplace that he/she and the company will be better off. Handle it immediately.”

Abhilash Patel, Recovery Brands

7. Course Correct

“An employee may not be fitting in simply because they’re not completely comfortable in the environment. First and foremost, give them time to adjust, and even create a small team of individuals they can work with that may possess similar likes and interests to help foster their ability to blend in with the team. If all else fails, talk with them and try and correct their course.”

Blair Thomas, First American Merchant

8. Monitor Them

“When I sense an employee might not be a good fit for the company, I start to pay more attention to them and monitor what they are doing more closely. From there, I address anything that they are not doing up to company standards. Usually, when someone is checked out or not a good fit, their work will also start to slip and they will realize they are not a good fit either.”

Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

9. Provide Feedback ASAP

“Provide feedback immediately. Have an open and honest conversation with that person to discuss the issues at hand and listen to what they have to say. Once a conversation takes place, monitor the employee’s performance and make a change if the issues aren’t resolved.”

Jonathan Shokrian, MeUndies Inc


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