The first three months of a new employee are critical. If you’ve made the wrong hire, it’s in this time period that you can part ways easily (as in, with less legal repercussions).
And of course, making the wrong hire does happen. As we’ve talked about before, hiring remorse can happen for any number of reasons, from the candidate overselling their qualifications to an all-around bad fit with the team.
The important thing is to recognize a wrong hire as quickly as possible. If you let six months pass before you’re ready to admit that an employee isn’t working out, letting them go requires a lot more resources (like a severance package).
So how do you know if you’ve made a mistake? There are some warning signs that can indicate major problems down the road.
One caveat: these warning signs don’t necessarily guarantee a bad hire. When issues arise, your first step should be talking to the employee about their problematic behaviour. You might find, for example, that they’re completely overwhelmed by a less-than-perfect onboarding program or problems with their IT setup.
With that in mind, here are six signs that you might have made the wrong hire.
They make the same mistakes again and again
Everyone makes mistakes in a new position. It’s to be expected. But if a new hire is repeatedly making the same mistakes, even after the mistake has been pointed out to them, it’s might indicate a bigger program. It could be a sign of inattention to detail or inability to learn from mistakes, or it could mean that they’re simply not paying attention during training.
They don’t get to know anyone (like, anyone)
A good office culture is becoming essential to employers. It’s not only a great recruiting tool. It boosts motivation, engagement, and productivity. With that in mind, it’s important to take note of how a new hire interacts with their fellow team members – essentially, how they’re fitting in to the culture. Even the least social employee will likely make a few connections within the first few weeks; if you don’t see your new hire doing any chatting, it might indicate that they’re going to have problems working in teams, or – worse – they’re not planning on staying at the company long.
They’re waiting to get things done
He who hesitates is lost – and a new hire that don’t show any initiative is a liability. Obviously, everyone needs a little guidance at first, but if a new employee is always waiting to get new tools and additional training before they move on to the next step, they’re not showing the traits of a star performer.
They don’t ask questions
Nobody, no matter how much experience they have, can know everything about a new job. When a new hire asks questions, they’re showing that they are engaged and interested in success. If they don’t ask questions, it could be a warning sign that they think they know everything about the role already.
They’re always comparing this job to their last job
It’s natural to draw a comparison between places you’ve worked. But when somebody frequently comments on every process, every project, every management decision, they’re not acting like a team player. Constantly saying “At company X, we always did Y before starting Z,” suggests that they don’t trust the processes and decisions that are in place at your company. Every organization has a different way of doing things, and a quality employee is open to learning about it.
They’re not at their desk
This is a no-brainer, but it’s still worth a mention. If a new hire is often late, calling in sick, or taking extra-long lunches, they’re lacking the professionalism that will make them a great employee long-term. (Plus, if this kind of thing is happening in the first three months, what will happen after three years?)