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Analysis of a Mistake

See if this situation sounds familiar:

Your organisation has placed an ad in the newspaper. You have received written applications, either online or in hard copy. The best looking applicants are brought forward for an interview.

You select one or more people to advance in the hiring process based on the interview.

Finally, you check their references. Based on all of this information you offer jobs to one or more people.

Before long you notice that one of your new hires seems to have had a personality transplant. You wonder if they’re actually the same person that was interviewed.

Instead of being charming, they’re now irritating. Rather than being the good team player they told you about, they’re getting other people offside. You thought they would be a quick learner, and now you find they’re struggling with the role. They told you how keen they were for the job, but this is no longer evident.

If you’ve had any experience with hiring at all, you’ve probably been down this road.

An interesting conversion process now happens. Initially you had one problem: “How do I find the right person (or people) for the job I want to fill?”

Now you’ve got a set of new problems. They look like this:

  1. Can this person be salvaged?
  2. If so, how? 
  3. Who has the skills to help them improve?
  4. How long will it take?
  5. Meanwhile, what’s the risk to the organisation in keeping this person on?
  6. While we try to improve them, how are they affecting the morale of our good performers?
  7. If this person can’t be saved, can we fire them?
  8. If we can’t fire them – or if it’s almost impossible to do so – what do we do with them?
  9. If we can fire them, how long will it take?
  10. What will it cost to part company?

And then, you return to the starting point:
“How do I find the right person (or people) for the job I want to fill?”

If you’ve read this far, it’s very likely you’ve been down this road before. Let’s look at how this happens.