Hiring and Firing: Why Do We Hire So Fast, and Fire So Slow?

I often wonder why so many leaders hire so fast and fire so slow. It always seems that we do the due diligence required to select qualified candidates for our most important positions. And then when things don’t seem to work out, many of us bury our heads in the sand in denial as if nothing is wrong.

Being a self-confident person, I regularly try to enroll other people in my ideas by assembling teams around me who are capable of implementing those very ideas. In this job market, it isn’t even that hard to find people who want to implement my ideas. That can be a recipe for disaster though if we simply hire people who seem eager to follow our paths. And then when they aren’t even capable of doing that, I for one have a hard time letting people go because I want to believe in their dedication and commitment to our shared vision (as I see it!) and because I don’t want to face the reality that they likely were bad hires in the first place. Note I didn’t say bad people. They likely just weren’t the best fit for what was truly required at that time and in that particular situation.

While I’d like to think that being passionate about our beliefs and tunnel-focused is the reason we often hire too fast and fire too slow, the speed with which we hire is probably far less of a problem than the speed with which we fire. The cost of hiring a new employee is supposedly 150% of that person’s starting annual salary. The cost for hiring the wrong person and then not firing him or her right away must be outrageous in comparison!

Over the last few years, I’ve learned all too well what the tremendous cost is for not parting paths and letting people go when they have proven not to be a perfect fit for what is truly needed. Countless hours invested in coaching them along with countless more hours creating work arounds and performing tasks myself – or even worse tasking others to do it – doesn’t solve the problem. It merely perpetuates it.

So take my advice. Slow down your hiring and determine exactly what critical success factors exist when you’re developing your position profiles. Then take your time to hire the right candidates for your open positions. Even if someone just quit and you feel the pressure to get some on board ASAP, don’t do it. Slow down the process, and you will reap the benefits of that decision soon enough.

And when those hiring decisions don’t work out as expected either, simply acknowledge it and move on. There are plenty of other fish in the sea, and the cost is too high for waiting on that one fish to flourish.

Posted in Firing, Hiring, Human Resources, Leadership, Management, Recruitment, Selection

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