7 Signs to Determine if the Stud You’ve Hired is Actually a Dud

uncaring-employee-ann-imageFinding the perfect fit for your position can be a long and tedious process. Your search for the ideal candidate who can perform up-to-the-mark, work cohesively with the team, and meet deadlines, typically involves you and your HR department sifting through hundreds of CVs.

When you find the person that seems to be the best fit in terms of experience and how well they perform during the interview process, you breathe a sigh of relief, feeling content that the search is over, and you have identified the best candidate for your needs.

However, occasionally companies end up hiring a candidate who ultimately does not match the values of the company and never fully assimilates into the role.

The sooner you realize you have made a mistake, the better. But how can managers spot a bad apple as soon as possible?

Here are seven indicators that you may have made a hiring mistake:

Their Skill Set is Not What You Expected

Sometimes, the lesser of the evils seems like a good option when you’re looking to hire for a position that needs to be filled immediately. If you have a pool of less than perfect candidates, and one of them stands out from the rest of the applicants, make sure you still quiz them about their knowledge and skill set.

Many candidates exaggerate their level of expertise at the interview stage so it’s always a good idea to question them about their past roles, responsibilities, and have them show you, rather than tell you, about their abilities.

A Disheveled Appearance

Does your new hire crawl into work looking less than professional? Are their clothes wrinkled, hair uncombed, or do they generally just have a sloppy appearance? This should be a HUGE red flag that should be taken seriously. If your new team member cannot take the time to present themselves in a positive, professional manner, the chances are they are giving the same or less attention to their work.

We all accept the premise that people typically pull out all the stops during the interview process. But if your new hire shows a marked decline in their appearance shortly after starting their new role, it shows that they are not able to maintain the facade that they wore to earn the job.

Inability to Understand the Scope of their Role

Corporate culture can vary between companies and can take some getting used to. However, an indication of a good employee and a through on-boarding process should leave no room for confusion regarding what they’re required to do within their job responsibilities.

Are you continually having to nudge them to complete their tasks? Be sure to not assume that a new hire knows what is expected of them. Have clearly written out duties and responsibilities, and take the time to go over them line by line. If after doing this, you are noticing that they are failing to do what is expected of them, it is time to re-evaluate your hire.

Requiring too Much Hand Holding

Asking questions is a good thing. However, if your employee lacks the understanding of their role and needs to be walked through each and every task that’s delegated to them, REPEATEDLY, they could be wasting your precious time. The sooner you realize that your new hire does not have the aptitude to do the work required of him/her, the better.

Are they a Know- It- All?

Confidence makes for a great employee. However, too much of it can quickly make a self-assured employee seem like an arrogant one. An employee too self-absorbed to take feedback or suggestions to improve their performance is an employee who will never progress from their current skill set. Such candidates also lack the ability to work well in a team environment and tend to become the source of uneasiness in the workplace.

  • In fact, being COACHABLE is an extremely important characteristic that should be evaluated during the interview process. Find something during their presentation that could be improved upon, and give them some constructive criticism. Look closely on how this is received. If they take it to heart, and implement your suggestions, that is a terrific sign. However, if they become defensive and bristle at your suggestions, RUN.

 A Negative Attitude

unhappy-employee-ann-image-2If the new employee is complaining over trivial things like how bad the coffee is at work, struggling to find parking, or having an issue with where their cubicle is, it may be a good idea to speak to them about what is truly bothering them. Trivial grievances that pile up can be a source of discontent which more often than not is passed on to other employees as well.

  • A negative attitude is something that cannot be overcome. By the time someone reaches working age, they typically have developed a glass half full, or half empty view of the world. You will be wise to take a close look at which of these two traits your new employee has. If their negativity did not come up during the interview process and only after they have settled into their new role are they letting their true colors shows, take note. One bad apple can truly ruin the bunch, and allowing one negative team member to poison the rest of the team is something that can and should be avoided at all costs.

You Don’t Have Confidence in their Abilities

If you have to constantly stay on your toes with a recent hire, wondering if they will ruin a project because of not following instructions or simply being unable to deliver, it might be a good time to re-evaluate the employee’s value to the company. It is expected that you need to give extra attention and help to a new employee. However once you provide instruction, and answer additional questions, if you continue to have a general lack of confidence in their abilities, take a long hard look at what is causing you not to have confidence in their work. Is it because they are new to the job, or is it because they ultimately do not have the skills required to do the work? While it is not realistic to expect a new member of the team to be able to hit the ground running from day one, depending on the work involved, there should be a clear progression in abilities. The key is determining if they are progressing in their abilities, or are they still at the same level as when they started? The Peter Principle is a real dilemma, and occasionally there are people that simply have hit their plateau in terms of abilities and the sooner you determine that they simply do not have the skills and aptitude to do the job, the better.

Where to Go from Here?

If an employee comes to mind after reading all of this, it might be time to re-evaluate their position in the company. There may be another role that they are more suited for, or they may need to be let go altogether.

Either way, you may have to re-start the recruitment process. This is the best time to bring in experienced executive recruiters and have them help you in your search for the right person for the job.



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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