Hiring Wisdom: What Can You Learn from Your Last Hiring Mistake?

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Every poor performer and bad hire can be traced to a flaw in the hiring system and represents an opportunity to improve that system.

Think about your most recent unsatisfactory hiring decision and ask yourself:

  1. What is the specific reason this person is unsatisfactory?
  2. If it’s an attitude problem (which it most often is), does your system include attitude testing and/or do you ask interview questions that explore attitudes. When you checked references, did you ask about attitude?
  3. If it’s because of either mental or physical abilities, personality fit, or skills, identify where your system let you down. (If skills aren’t up to speed, rethink your skills assessment tests and training program.)
  4. Was this person fully briefed on both the pluses and minuses of the position before accepting the job offer? Was the person promised more power, money, or opportunities than the job actually delivers? Did you know about a disagreeable client or coworker and not say anything?
  5. Could something have been done in the hiring, onboarding, or training process to prevent the employee from failing or not fitting in? ( You should check out The 5 Firsts, A Simple System to On-board and Retain Top Talent.)
  6. Does the employee have all the tools and equipment needed?
  7. Are the employee’s co-workers supportive? If not, why not?
  8. Is the employee’s manager or supervisor well-trained in how best to mentor new hires?

No one starts a new job hoping to fail, so it’s up to each one of us as employers to learn from our mistakes.

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This was originally published in the July 2014 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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