As any recruiter or HR personnel will agree, hiring an employee is a pretty exhaustive process. You create a JD, advertise, short list, interview, finalise, make an offer, and finally the candidate joins. But as any seasoned recruited or HR personnel will know, the verdict on how well they have done this job is decided only after a few months of the joining. The joining is just the beginning, and how the new employee turns out to be – skill and personality wise – is what matters. Consequently, every person you hire will not turn out to be a winner, and sometimes you will inadvertently end up choosing someone who doesn’t quite fit the bill.
Here’s how to spot if you have made a bad hire:
Difference in commitment and result
Let’s start with the most obvious. If there is a consistent difference in what is promised and what is delivered, you know you have a problem. Now, don’t breathe fire down their necks to prove themselves within the first week, but if the problem persists even 6 months down the line, and underperformance seems to be a norm, you need to address it.
Making trivial (or same) errors repeatedly
If you expected them to have a certain skill set or knowledge, and but you are left stumped with their basic understanding of the field, chances are you have bought the overpriced goods that were sold during the interview. Boasting – and clever wordplay – is not uncommon for interviewees, and they could have overstated their previous roles. If you find them making the same (or trivial or both) mistakes repeatedly, it’s time to have a hard talk with them.
Expectation of special treatment
There is a clear and blunt expectation to be treated better than others – be it in terms of better technological gadgets, work timings, access to information, or office space. This usually follows their assumption that they are better than the rest of the team – and their addition to the team will help the team more than it will help them grow. Most of the times, this exuberant display of over-confidence is unfounded, and to bring them down to the ground reality is a task.
Change in team dynamics
Watch out for this one! If you notice a subtle, yet sure change in the way your team behaves after a certain joining, dig deeper. A new employee could, without realising, pitting teammates against each other, or inducing a loyalty-based polarity in the group. Keep a watch on the way colleagues interact, personally and professionally, the level and intensity gossip and rumours flying around, and if there your intervention is needed.
Resistance to adapt
There is a world of difference between having trouble in settling to the new job, and being adamant and stubborn so as to not fit in the new job. If you are constantly reminded about ‘This is not how we did it at the last place I worked...’ or, if you have been told on more than once occasion that playing nice was not a part of the JD, make sure you have a word with them, to ease their transition to the role that is expected of them.
Difficult to reach out to
This means having a communication problem – literally and figuratively – when official communication is unanswered, and you have trouble explaining to them the bigger vision, the culture and the ethos of the organisations, a trouble is already brewing. But, before you pull them up on being uncommunicative; make sure the communication has been clear, consistent and sufficient from your end. Check if they have been too busy, too intimidated, too careless, or too unaware before you reach a conclusion.
Ideally, if you notice any of the above mentioned traits, you should take due cognizance and address it with the person in question, or his or her immediate supervisor. Maybe the decision to recruit them was hasty, and they are perhaps suited for another role? Having an honest conversation with them will help you assess whether it is the skills they are lacking, or the spirit, to take on their roles and responsibilities.
Even if you do everything by the book in recruiting a person, the very element of human nature can make the efficiency of the final decision unpredictable. Do not evaluate a new recruit – on their skill or personality – in the first seven or ten days of the job, for they are likely to be at their best behaviour, and yet to fully understand their new work. But if over the time, the employee starts costing the organisation or other team members their productivity, finances or their morale, do not let the issue go unaddressed. Make sure you give them a fair bit of warning to turn the tide in their favour, before reaching conclusions. Lastly, sometimes, the sync doesn’t work, and new employees quit, or are fired within months, sometimes weeks or days. It is best for you to identify such a situation as early on as possible, and mitigate the damage.