Dealing with the Bad Hire……….

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Have you lost a great candidate recently to a counter-offer? Maybe you lost them to a competing offer? The competition for exceptional talent is strong right now, as Financial Services leaders see the opportunity to capitalize in a unique market.  If your interview funnel has been less than satisfactory and your pool of qualified talent is drying up, I invite you to a complimentary consultation on how to attract great talent on a consistent basis AND how to procure them so you don’t lose them to competing offers. 



Dealing with the Bad Hire…………

One of the most complex issues that business leaders face on an ongoing basis is dealing with “bad hires” when building their teams. Even the best hiring managers and organizations will make hiring mistakes. No matter how efficient your hiring process is, no matter how many interviews candidates have, no matter how many references you check, every manager will experience at one time or another the “bad hire”. Most often, it is through no-one’s fault. Simply put, Great Candidates and Great Companies DO NOT always equal Great Matches.

In a study cited by the Harvard Business Review, approximately 70% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. Telltale signs of a bad hire include, low morale, complaints from co-workers and clients, “finger pointing” around the new hire, discernable personality traits that differ from the hiring process, and of course poor output of deliverables.

Far too often we deal with clients that are caught off guard and get stuck in the “paralysis by analysis” style of management, rather than implement the steps necessary to evaluate the current and future expenses of hanging on to a bad hire. It is imperative to allow a reasonable amount of time for adjustment for new hires but always remain prepared to assess and address problems quickly.

Of course, the first step is to recognize that you may have made a “bad hire”. When dealing with a bad hire, there are only 3 real choices, although none are as clear cut as they might seem.
  • Accept the bad hire and make the best of a bad situation.
Perhaps the easiest choice is to “live with the situation”. Accept that a bad hire was made and adjust your expectations around them. This can be incredibly costly in time, effort, and money. Resentment can build around the underperforming employee causing unrest and reduced output amongst the rest of the team. Most often, when left unattended to, the self-fulfilling prophecy of a bad hire will not resolve itself, and a downward spiral will continue until an exorbitant amount of time and energy has been wasted.
  • Do everything in your control to try to “turn the situation around”.
If you are able to clearly identify and isolate which competencies are lacking, you may be able to train and improve performance in those particular areas, and across the board. Tantamount to this approach is honest dialogue and a two-way commitment to the engagement that will transpire provided the employee is willing to learn based on constructive feedback and coaching. Very often, with a little time, sincere effort, clear expectations and honest feedback, an employee who initially appears to be a mistake hire ,very often will adjust and become an excellent employee. If you see the potential, then absolutely it is worth investing that time to help turn around an underperforming employee. In the 30+ years that I have spent in the search industry, I have seen countless situations where hires with “shaky beginnings” were turned around, and employees become company stars with long career.
  • Cut your losses and move on.
Far too often, companies hire fast and fire slow! The most frequent lament we hear from our clients is that they held on to an employee for far too long, rather than figure out a way to move forward without them. There are a slew of reasons why that happens, which we will address in a future article. More often than not, the misaligned employee will recognize and acknowledge the improper fit before and separate on their own, before forcing the company to act.  

Feel free to reach out directly to discuss this topic further as well as any other questions or concerns regarding the current hiring climate.  I guarantee that in our call together you will leave with 2 or 3 ideas that will greatly impact your ability to find, attract, and procure the top 10-15% of the candidate pool on a consistent basis.


Peter Tannenbaum is sought out by leaders in Financial Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent. Through Ramax Search’s extensive network of relationships and their “deep dive” qualification process, they are able to identify and secure individuals who represent the top tier of Financial Services professionals. To discover how this process can benefit your organization, call Peter at 212.686.1686 ext. 102.



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