Opportunity cost of a bad hire

Hiring is one of the most common areas that startups find challenging at any stage of their growth.

Most of the time the issue is around finding enough candidates, but the. Additional dilemma is around dealing with bad hires too.

More often than not, when we hire the probation period means any hire is there for at least 3-6months, before they are assessed for suitability to continue, if they aren’t then they’re let go, and the process starts again, and so it could be a year before you get the right person assuming that first candidate failed and the second candidate was a fit, and thats if your second candidate fits, if they don’t then you can add more time to the experience. 

Time wasted is death for a startup. And when it comes to hiring the wrong candidate its not just  the 3 months of probation that staff has cost you, its also the 3 months of work not done and the additional 3 months it takes to find a replacement candidate and the 3 months it takes for that candidate to pass their probation. 

Given this, anything you can do to reveal flaws in a candidate sooner, will be exponentially valuable for you. It makes sense that we evaluate for suitability as much as capability,  use personality tests like MBTI, get candidates to do mock presentations or take coder exams. Anything you can do to de-risk a candidate is worthwhile. And when you hire a candidate make sure you can quickly and effective screen the candidate through probation as quickly as possible, better than you know and end the relationship after one month of probation then let it linger for an additional 3. When you prolong a probation you’re not doing yourself or the candidate favours, if they aren’t a fit they aren’t a fit, its better to rip off the plaster so everyone can move on without more emotion and time invested further down the line.

Often I hear caring founders talk about re-assigning such candidates to other positions, there might be reason or clear situations where this is suitable, but its worth reminding – people don’t change their personality, they won’t magically become gifted data people if thats not in their nature, so we always need to balance trying to help candidates find the right fit, against ensuring the right candidate with the right suitability and right capability is in the right role. 

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