Hire Slow, Fire Fast

You know someone who got divorced?  Did they rush into the marriage?  Did you and your friends talk about how fast they got together, engaged and married? If marriage is the most important relationship you are going to have in your life (if you choose to), your employment relationships have got to be second.

I think of all the things in our lives we spend valuable time considering before entering into a relationship with:

  • Real Estate Agent
  • Bank
  • Cell Carrier
  • Home Contractors
  • vacation plans

and yet I still hear about agencies hiring people in record time.  I think in crunch time agencies feel like staffing up is the only thing they can do to try and stay out of the weeds.  Truth be told, a bad hire can tear an agency apart and create such ill sentiment among the troops that you lose productivity and culture instead of cementing it.

The best thing I do with my teams is protect the culture.  I see dozens of resumes each month.  I respectfully reply to each candidate, but not even a quarter make it in the doors.  Of that pool, less than 5% get a second interview, and the select few get an offer.  Why do I do that?  My teams are growing, I want more employees, I have the work, so why be so discriminant?

The short answer is efficiency and respect.

The long answer is:
I can hire  a boat load of people very quickly, hand them work and tell them to go do it.  But that doesn’t solve any problem that it doesn’t create two more of.  The dynamics of a team and a company can change in a single day with the wrong person involved.  That is a very large risk to take when hiring someone quickly.  A bad hire can cost the business other employees at best, at worst it can cause your current employees to work less efficiently.  That doesn’t take into account the administrative cost to a bad  hire.  If you have a formal review, assessment and warning system, it has to be invoked which adds load to management (not the goal).  If you fire them could be even more work to be done with forms and filings, documentation and perhaps even unemployment.

Another concept to be cognoscente of is respect. This is a big idea as it spans various contexts.  For me the most important context is is my own.  I need to respect myself.  My time is valuable not just to me but to my company.  My sanity is also very important and managing difficult employees can lead to elevated stress levels, which is a trigger for bad habits. Secondarily to me is a the respect for my team.  I have a responsibility to them to hire people that are just as skilled and fit into the organization.  Hiring someone who is a burden on them doesn’t do anyone any good either.

The win on hiring slow and firing fast is pretty clear.  Hire slow and put a premium on positions in your shop, hire fast and the message, anyone can get in.  That isn’t to say that if the right person shows up you don’t hire them, but those instances are pretty few and far between, aren’t they?

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