After the Interview: Who Did I Just Hire?

You spent months looking for the perfect candidate with your offsite human resources experts at a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like Abel HR. Together, you reviewed resumes, conducted interviews, and even extended an offer or two. Finally, you landed someone you and your company were excited about. However, the person who showed up for their first day of work – or even weeks of work – is not at all like the bright, motivated, charismatic person who wowed you during the interview process.

Making one hiring mishap a year can have a significant financial impact. Replacing an employee in a mid-range position (earning between $30 – $50K) averages about 20 percent of their annual salary (so $6,000 to $10,000), according to a study by the Center for American Progress. Costs to replace a more experienced or educated employee can amount to more than double their annual salary. An executive making $100,000 could cost up to $213,000 to replace. There is also the impact of turnover on employee’s morale that resonates throughout the company.

So, how do you get to the bottom of what happened with this new employee? More importantly, how can Abel HR help you fix it?

Nearly 50 percent of new hires fail in their first 18 months, with just a scant 19 percent actually staying the course and making it work, according to a study by Leadership IQ. However, the same study suggests that these situations may be salvageable with a few tweaks here and there.

Here is how Abel HR can help you navigate this situation:

Step 1: Have a frank conversation

If something doesn’t feel right to you, chances are it doesn’t feel right to them either. Rather than ignore the elephant in the room, it is imperative that human resources talk candidly with the new employee. The experts at Abel HR can help you develop a plan that includes gathering feedback from their supervisor and teammates to get a picture of how they are or aren’t fitting in.

Ask the new employee questions about how they feel they are fitting in and what their perception of their performance has been. Explain what you have observed, documented and why it is raising questions or creating an issue. Come to them with specific examples of where you have observed them falling short.

While it may feel instinctual to offer up solutions or suggestions to improve their performance, resist this urge and instead let them volunteer their perspective on how they can work on fitting in. While you can listen to their proposed solutions, you should also keep in mind whether you can accommodate those requests.

Of course, you are required by law to make certain accommodations for certain individuals and a PEO like Abel HR can help you figure out when this is the case and how to make those accommodations.

Step 2: Examine your own process

if you’re seeing warning signs in the first few days, there’s a lot you can do to correct it because they’ve barely gotten started so you can pull out the big guns to fix it.

Did you do a good job orienting them to the company and – more importantly – to their role? Has their manager explained what their expectations are for their role? Have you given them enough training where they need it to get their job done in the most effective and efficient way possible?

If you fell short, accept the responsibility and start putting plans in place to rectify the situation. If your training has been sub-par, Abel HR can help develop a plan to improve the skills they need to shore up and if it’s the manager that hasn’t been up to par, we can help them as well.

Step 3: Start talking performance reviews

While it might seem presumptive to begin talking about a performance review, but clearly outlining how an employee is going to be evaluated right out of the gate can help them to focus their efforts and set them on the correct path. Having multiple reviews as the employee starts can be a tool to help them learn the company culture and ensure a smooth transition while nipping any issues before they become major problems. Abel HR’s experts can offer guidance to make this process manageable.

Let them identify the skill areas where they think they currently may be falling short and see what solutions are available. Can you pair them with a mentor who excels in these areas? Can you sign them up for intensive training for a particular skill set or system?  If you think you can fix it, certainly develop a strategic plan that includes progress milestones, but be realistic about what you can provide and what might not be quite so fixable.

Step 4: Close the communication loop

This performance review conversation also paves the way for a frank talk about next steps if an employee is failing to meet expectations in their role.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) are a common tool used by employers to set employees on the right foot within a pre-agreed upon timeframe – and have been found to be effective in keeping employees in roles. When discussing the performance review criteria, also discuss what a PIP looks like in your company, when it could be implemented, how they will be evaluated, and when a decision will be rendered. Of course, the offsite experts at Abel HR can help you set up a PIP to help you protect the investment the company has already made in recruiting and hiring this new employee.

Step 5: Know when to cut your losses

Acknowledging that you’ve made a bad hire is never a fun place to be – we’re all well aware of the statistics associated with a “bad hire” and know that it is costly both in terms of financial and time investment implications.

However, keeping someone on who is no good for your company will only compound the problems. You have grounds for termination if the employee completely misrepresented their skills or credentials or if they blatantly fail to abide by company policies or rules, despite repeated warnings. Other skill areas – such as their not being able to do their job or being a terrible team player – are decidedly murkier and you’ll want to tread carefully. Abel HR will guide you through the uncertainty anytime you see a glaring problem, to help you avoid a wrongful termination suit.

Letting an employee go, whether they don’t fit in culturally or they don’t have the skills you thought they did, is never an easy process. This is when you can fully lean on Abel HR for assistance to make the process as easy and painless for both parties as possible.