Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

How to Deal with Recruiting Mistakes

mistake_largeOne of the most difficult aspects of leading a business is having to deal with firing people. The hiring/firing process is much more challenging for a start-up that lacks resources (such as a formal HR department). For startups, it is crucial that all team members are performing as per expectations—meaning that every employee has a unique position and any inefficiency could hurt the company.

In business, non-performing (and even under-performing) employees in a small company can dramatically lower your company’s productivity. As per the author of this article, Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, refers to this issue as PURE: Previously Undetected Recruiting Error.

Mark believes in the mantra of Hire Fast/Fire Fast, meaning that in large companies, the recruiting process can be very tedious and take months. With startups, time is of the essence. That is not too say that you shouldn’t spend time making sure you have the right candidate, but be sure not to over-analyze potential recruits and chew up valuable months with business functions unfilled.

If and when you do choose to let a team member go, after the initial state of shock of the firing process, there is usually a sense of relief and well-being. Most teams realize a bad apple faster than the team leader does. Failing to act undermines confidence. It is better to own up to the original hiring mistake and deal with the issue as soon as you can.

Some organizations follow a “temporary contractor period” policy, in which everyone is on probation for six months before becoming permanent. This policy might work for some companies, but it also has the potential of turning off some potentially great prospective employees. In the US, a company has the right to terminate any employee at will (subject to contracts already in place). However, it is important to consult a lawyer before implementing a firing or layoff.

If you made a mistake in recruiting and if someone is a PURE employee, it will be beneficial to the entire company if you deal with it quickly and efficiently. That way, your company can focus on the tasks at hand and on finding a strong employee to replace that person.

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Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!


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