Help! I Hired the Wrong Person. Now What?

oh no! I've hired a bad employeeFrequently in a busy business, the initial hiring process is rushed and applicants are carelessly selected. If your business is growing and another employee is desperately needed, it could be tempting to hire the first semi-qualified applicant that comes around. You may just scan through some resumes, call in a few applicants for a five minute interview, and then start throwing out job offers.

However, what happens when you realize that the applicant you just hired does not possess the skills, education, or experience to perform the essential job functions? Or, what happens when the new employee realizes that the job descriptions you listed are not exactly what they had in mind? Do they become miserable at their job, and, in turn, decrease productivity or sales for the entire department or company? Yes, you may have hired an applicant within one week, but that bragging point quickly fades away as you realize that your new employee is not going to work out.

What went wrong? In most cases, the interview process is too rushed to allow time to check out details and facts. The Wall Street Journal has recently released statistics showing at least 34% of all applications contain lies or misrepresentations about education, experience, skills, etc. The hope is that the employer is too busy to check all the facts and that, once hired, they can “hopefully” learn the job. Therefore, take the time to check the applicant’s credentials and references.

So, you must now begin the hiring process again. This time, take the time and attention to hire a qualified employee that will become an asset to your company. The cost of replacing the semi-qualified employee will far exceed the cost of hiring the best qualified applicant from the start. In fact, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) estimates that it costs $3,500 to replace an $8 per hour employee. As salary increases, the cost of replacement increases; a senior executive replacement could cost upwards of $40,000.

Before even starting interviews again, create a list of job functions, responsibilities, as well as minimum education and skill requirements. Then advertise or post the job online. Be sure to emphasize the minimum requirements to avoid 50 resumes from unqualified applicants. As resumes start pouring in, screen applicants. This step should be fairly easy if you have emphasized minimum requirements.

One thing that many interviewers neglect is preparation before the interview. By taking at least 30 minutes to prepare a list of appropriate interview questions, you can help ensure the interview stays on track and that each job related question is asked. Set a specific time frame and stick to it.

During the interview, ask the questions and allow the applicant to do at least 80% of the talking. You can ask simple closed questions such as “Are you legally able to work in the United States?” The yes or no answer will satisfy your needs. However, open ended questions such as “How did your previous position prepare you for this job?” should get the applicant talking. You can then gauge their personality and enthusiasm.

During the interview:

* Be attentive and actually listening
* Take many notes (on paper, not on the application which is a legal document that must be stored)
* Observe the applicant’s body language (enthusiasm, inquisitive, interest)
* Re-ask unanswered questions. Perhaps the applicant is hiding something or they may just not have clearly answered your question
* Be sure the applicant is comfortable (choose an appropriate setting)
* Minimize interruptions
* Thank the applicant for their time and inform them of the next step
* Do not give any immediate decision to the applicant

Immediately following the interview, take a few minutes to write a summary. Don’t wait, as you may forget pertinent details. You can use this summary to compare possible applicants.

Employee retention can be closely linked with the hiring process. Losing a new hire can be costly to your business. Take the time to hire skilled, experienced employees that can handle all of the job duties and who will fit into your company’s culture. Hiring better applicants equals retaining qualified employees.

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