How to Prevent A Bad Hire For Your Great Company

Bad hires are expensive. They take up staff time and may sour relationships with customers or clients. Replacing them means the expenses of recruiting and onboarding their replacement. The alternative—shuffling them from one position to another—brings even more problems. With enough bad hires floating around, great organizations quickly become mediocre.

Here are some of the top ways to make sure your hiring practices bring in skilled people who fit well within your organization and team:

Don’t rush. The most important way to prevent a bad hire is to take your time. In a recent CareerBuilder study, 43 percent of respondents said they had made a bad hire because they needed to fill a position quickly. Even if an open position is taxing your team’s resources in the short run, weigh that factor against the overall morale, culture and productivity of the organization. Don’t hire until you are sure you have the right candidate.

Know what you want. Have a clear understanding of the position’s responsibilities and cultural fit, and make sure they’re communicated clearly. At every step—from the job description through the interview process, be up front about the role and the organization’s values.

Ask smart questions. Formulate questions ahead of time that explore ability, potential and fit and that will give you key insights into how well each candidate fits within the position and team. Elon Musk routinely asks interviewees to recall a problem they solved and explain how they arrived at each step along the way. The more detailed the answer, Elon explains, the more it shows that they really thought through the problem.

Look for the right person, not just the right skills. Companies committed to good hiring practices emphasize personality, cultural fit, and diversity. Ask your current employees how best to attract candidates with passion and initiative—those with the willingness to learn, to ask questions and figure things out.

Assess skills. Include a sample task or skills test in the hiring process. These assessments not only ensure that candidates actually possess the skills they claim to have but also help them gain a more detailed understanding of the work they’ll be doing.

Look at the long term. The best hiring decisions are not short-sighted. Beyond considering what a candidate can do now, foster long-term stability by looking at the potential they bring for advancement and growth within the company.

Include subject-matter experts on hiring teams. Especially for critical positions that require technical proficiency, involve subject-matter experts who can ask specific questions to determine the potential hire’s knowledge and skills. Bring in an outside resource if necessary, especially for critical roles.

Always check references. This is a critical step, but some recruitment processes fail to follow through. You can learn a lot from reference checking, and it’s important to listen to what is being said and how it is said.

The good news is that getting the hiring process right isn’t that difficult. Even if you have struggled in the past, take comfort in knowing it’s a skill you can learn.

Lead from within: Organizations that make the investment to best practices in recruitment and hiring gain the best people.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Henry Killingsworth

    02. Mar, 2023

    I thought you made a good point when you mentioned that businesses should look for people that can bring advancement and growth within the company. With that in mind, it seems like it would be important to make sure that you hire a diverse staff so that you can have many different ideas for growth. Hiring a diverse staff seems like an effective way to ensure the success of your business.

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