6 warning signs that you’ve hired the wrong person for the job

By Robert Half on 21 August 2018

Wrong hires happen more regularly than most businesses want to admit. Research by Robert Half found that 99% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, primarily of underqualified candidates (48%), a mis-match of skills (39%), and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).

Opinions on how to resolve the situation seem to be divided. Once a bad hire has been identified, the business leaders surveyed would rectify the situation by dismissing the employee (10%) or investing their training (30%).

But what about trying to make the best of it?

Businesses said that keeping a mis-hired employee in the company had noticeably negative effects. It resulted in lost productivity (26%), higher workloads (53%) and increased stress on teams (39%). Whether opinions on the solution are divided or not, it seems that ignoring (or failing to identify) and mis-hired employee is disastrous for business productivity and team morale.

If you’re about to welcome a new employee to your team, watch out for these six warning signs and catch a mis-hire before it’s too late.

1. They have trouble understanding basic tasks within the role

Your new employee has been working with you for a few days now, but you can already see them struggling to perform basic tasks. Their work is littered with mistakes and they take a long time to deliver.

If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone.

When asked, 39% of businesses said that a candidate was found to be unsuitable for a role due to a skills mismatch, 99% said that the candidate was underqualified and 28% said that the candidate had lied on their CV. This may well be down to common hiring mistakes managers make, which typically include not properly defining the tasks within a role and failing to assess the required candidate skill set.

2. Company culture has taken a nosedive

It’s only been a week or two, but the atmosphere within the team has already soured. One bad apple can easily bring down a company culture that has been carefully cultivated over the years. If you’ve noticed drastic changes since the introduction of a new hire, they may be the cause.

It might be that the candidate’s values and personality weren’t taken into consideration during the hiring process. This can be solved with a series of interpersonal and soft skill-related questions, and by interviewing beyond the hiring manager, such as involving one peer and one subordinate in the hiring process. This can help you preserve company culture and also makes the candidate’s transition into the new team smoother.

3. They struggle to adapt to your processes

Have you noticed that your new hire repeatedly challenges the processes you and your team use? Do they regularly complain or talk about how they used to do things back at their old company? It sounds like your new hire is struggling to adapt, and this could quickly become a liability.

Research for the Robert Half Salary Guide showed that digital transformation and automation are set to change the future of the workplace and the roles within it.

Almost every team in every industry is upskilling to help diversity skill sets in preparation for a process change. If your new hire can’t adapt now, they may hold your team back from supporting new business growth initiatives in the future.

4. Your communication styles clash

Your new hire may have a personal working style which clashes with the one your team are used to. This can manifest itself in behaviour such as trying to work alone, failing to touch base on work progress, trying to work outside of established lines of communication, being secretive or reaching out too often for reassurance and guidance.

5. Time management is an issue

Is your new employee frequently late? Perhaps they keep leaving early? Do they struggle to get through the allotted workload within working hours and can’t seem to prioritise tasks?

Whichever warning signs you’ve noticed, it could have a knock-on effect for the rest of the team, and cause delays which affect productivity. You can try scheduling time each week to prioritise their task list with them, with a hope that they’ll catch on quickly.

6. Lower-level staff members don’t like them

The way an employee treats low-level staff can tell you a lot about their character. They might be making a big effort to impress senior management, so be aware that you might not be getting the whole picture.

If you have suspicions, take a moment to speak in confidence with other employees to get feedback on your new hire.

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