At least 7 reasons why this is a bad idea 

I have the honor of working with dozens of Colorado’s most creative entrepreneurs and smartest business leaders every day.  One of the hardest things to tackle when you are a small, fast growing company is hiring.  I’m not talking about the mechanics of employment, but rather the timing of each new person so that you maintain the customer services levels and delivery schedules necessary to do good work.  In this highly active labor market it may take you some time to find the right combination of skill, character and experience.  When faced with impending deadlines or an unexpected resignation, many hiring managers feel like their backs are against a wall, and will resort to desperation hiring – making an offer to a less than ideal candidate and hoping they will be a shining star. 

Here are 7 of the many reasons why this is a bad idea:

  1. Company productivity.  When you hire someone who is not skilled enough to be immediately productive or doesn’t have the mental agility to pick up new concepts quickly, you are deliberately diminishing the entire team’s velocity.  Everyone else on the team has to take the time to train, explain, and double check work at the expense of their own productivity.  Big companies can often afford to take the time necessary to ramp up a new employee and ease them into the process, making adjustments for gaps in their skillset.  For small businesses, it’s just too costly to hire wrong.
  2. Team member morale.  Every time you let someone who is less than ideal into your organization – and especially if you made the decision in spite of warnings from members of your team – you deliver a message that sounds like this.  “It’s more important for me to get work done than to maintain the high level of quality that I’ve expected from you.”  If your team doesn’t feel like they are working among equals, and have a great support system to back them up, morale goes down for everyone.
  3. Clean up.  Hiring out of desperation means that for weeks and months after they are gone – and eventually they will be gone – you will be repairing damage, cleaning up messy work, and even trying to recreate stuff that never got done.  The cost of this mistake may be unimaginable.
  4. Company values.  Let’s assume that you have established a set of core values and that you hire with those values in mind so that everyone in your company is aligned.  When you make a desperate hire you will likely compromise on those values.  You’ve instantly risked dilution of that alignment and the culture you’ve built.
  5. Unemployment.  Making a bad hire today that results in an involuntary discharge opens you up for unemployment liability for years.  There is nothing worse than being reminded of a bad hire 3 years ago when you receive an unemployment claim and have to pay it.
  6. Customer impact. When you are a small company trying to grow market share, every person on your team will have contact with your customers.  Email correspondence, phone conversations, technical support, billing, ordering – every touchpoint creates a snapshot of you in the customer’s mind.  A bad hire will absolutely create a bad impression that can last long after the bad hire is gone, and can impact your business significantly.
  7. Employment Brand.  A bad hire may result in unexpected turnover, which will impact your reputation as a quality employer in the market.  This means that those high performing people you need will notice how many people are “former employees” and decide that you aren’t the company they are interested in.  Social media has made it VERY easy for candidates to check you out in advance of applying for an open position.  Make sure you create a positive image and give employees every reason to recommend you to other top talent.

I’m sure that you can add to this list with at least 10 more reasons not to hire in desperation.  I’m also certain that each time you make this mistake you promise never to do it again.  I know I do!

For more ideas on making sure you plan in advance for a good hire visit us here!





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Comment by Nicole Antonio-Gadsdon on March 9, 2016 at 1:13pm

Great post! Desperate hiring at at time is bad news. But desperate hiring in the early days - start up phase is a disaster (brand reputation, culture, moral, economics etc) that is extremely hard and painful to recover from.


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