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What to do when you make a hiring mistake?

  What do you do when you hire someone who turns out not be far less talented than you expected? If they're talented but lacking motiviation then you try to manage them better; and if they're grossly incompetent then you fire them...But what if you realize the guy is simply below the company's normal talent standards and always will be?
  It's not a question of needing to train him better--after working with him for months, you realize he's already maxed out his potential and explaining his mistakes to him won't help.  He's not so grossly incompentent as to justify the morale hit of a layoff, but he's not compent enough to design any non-trivial software, either. What do you do? Just give him the easy jobs that no one else wants to do?

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

I would only keep the person if there was some type of useful type of work to move them to.  The hit to moral and productivity as well as your sanity just isn't worth it.

If possible I would look at moving him into a Field Engineering position or some other type of function that doesn't require the same level of expertise.  That assume that these type of jobs exists in your organization.

We had  similar situation, after 4 months trying to work with this person, we just decided that we had made a bad decision.  We let him go. The moral in the office improve very rapidly.

One other thing, don't lay the person off, fire them.  I know this sounds harsh, but your employees will understand firing someone for performance reasons verses a lay off.

James Tomlinson
Tuesday, December 4, 2001

I can't speak as to the "right way" or from any management experiance, but I can say that personally, I dislike being somewhere where I am not wanted. That's a purely person view based on principle.

On the other hand, The economy isn't really at it's best now: If he couldn't get another job if he was fired, and you have jobs for him, leave the poor guy be. As long as he's doing jobs that need to be done well enough, give him the benefit of the doubt. Don't screw him/her and the family if you can still use the guy. It'd be different if you had nothing at his level, and he was just dead weight, but as long as he is productive, then he's probably not worth hiring a replacement for. Remember, if you hired someone better, you'd wind up with a more skilled employee doing the same drudgework.

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Is the person a contractor or permanent employee? I'm assuming a permanent employee.

What we do at our company is hire the person as a contractor first for six months. After that, the company decides whether to hire the person as a permanent employee or let the contract expire.

anonymous coward
Wednesday, December 5, 2001

We all make mistakes. I made a hire mistake this year.

Then I made a second one.

I kept an obviously unsuitable person on, bending the business trying to find them something they could do, all the time hiding from the one immutable truth : I hired the wrong person and there was no point in continuing this unsuitable relationship.

Don't rush to the judgement - but once you have confirmed on at least three separate occaisons that this person does not have what you need for the position, be frank with them and bring it to an end.

When we let them go, are we doing the right thing by them as well? Maybe, maybe not. But what are you in business to do?

Always make sure you know labor laws as well.

Double this for contractors. I hesitated on sacking one this year, despite all the warning bells going off, and paid the price.

Patrick FitzGerald
Wednesday, December 5, 2001

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