Last updateWed, 13 Jun 2018 12am

How to deal with that bad hiring decision


We’ve all been there. That “perfect candidate” we hired just doesn’t work out for whatever reason and we’re left ruing the decision and trying to manage the fallout that might happen afterwards. Depending on the person this can take all forms including a loss in sales, staff disagreement, management time in re-performing tasks, even legal costs if things get ugly.

Sometimes it just comes down to having the wrong person in the wrong position. This may not always be obvious - if a staff member is struggling to perform tasks they can sometimes be very good at disguising the problem. Rather than just admitting they are unable to cope they deal with the matter in a variety of ways that may seem to have nothing to do with the issue - arriving late to work, low productivity, arguing with fellow staff members - it can show up in a myriad of ways.

Prevention is always better than cure, and using the tools that can help you hire correctly in the first place can relieve 80% of the problem. Getting it right the first time is always the optimum; but what do you do if you got it wrong?

There are a number of steps that can help you deal with a staffing issue:

1. Are you doing your part right? You can control your own performance and this is always the best place to start. Have you been clear in the instructions required for the job? Has the staff member received the training necessary to perform the task? Is there regular communication and feedback on their performance? By the law of averages, 50% of the issues surrounding staff performance will be caused by management not providing an appropriate structure to perform the job.

2. Profile your staff. Although this is best done when hiring, getting them profiled might help identify their strengths and enable you to give them tasks that are better suited to their skills and talents. Profiling your staff involves assessing their compatibility to the job requirements and can be as important for existing staff as it is for hiring new recruits. An in depth profile not only shows up compatibility, but provides a guide on how to manage them effectively to get the most out of their performance.

3. Sit down and talk with them. The problem wont go away if you don’t, and will only create a larger issue later. Often the process of having a conversation can go a long way to resolving the matter. Performance can often improve when the staff member knows their issues are being heard and that there is someone ready to listen and offer assistance.

4. How are other staff coping with their performance? Depending on the situation, the staff member may be affecting others through their performance or attitude. In some cases peer pressure can go a long way towards helping resolve the issue as well. It is important that other staff understand that this impact is being acknowledged and that steps are being put in place to make things smoother. Most importantly, if the staff member concerned is being disruptive, other staff need to understand that this sort of behavior won’t be tolerated. Staff respect management that are seen to set boundaries for performance and will take steps to enforce them when required.

5. Have someone else who can do their job. You don’t want to be dependent on any one staff member - including yourself! You can lose personnel at any stage due to resignations or illness. Make sure that all of your staff have a person who can do their job in their absence. Problems can develop where a staff member starts to feel they are indispensable to the business, and it becomes difficult to take strong action where there is no adequate replacement. Rotating your staff through different functions regularly can also provide job variety.

6. If you must release them, do so quickly. You need to get appropriate legal advice about employment legislation, but a long drawn out situation is disruptive to the team and unfair on the staff member. Wherever possible give the person the chance to make the decision themselves rather than you having to make it for them. Most staff that are disruptive or don’t perform the job to the standard are unhappy and in many cases a discussion about their wants and needs will have them realize that they need to move on for their own sake so they can find a role that is more fulfilling.

For an in depth discussion on profiling and how it can be used to improve your staff recruiting and management process contact us for further information.

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 877-569-8657.