So you’ve had a bad hiring experience.

Don’t worry it happens all the time. I have you covered. Read on…

So you’ve had a bad hiring experience

The candidate you selected didn’t turn out to be the superstar you’d hoped for.

Maybe they’re flaky and unreliable.

Perhaps they over exaggerated in the interview and are not as competent as they seemed.

Or possibly their behaviour is toxic and they’ve completely p***ed off your customers and your team.

In any case hiring mistakes are commonplace, so you are not alone.

In this post you will get valuable information on how to deal with hiring the wrong person.

It isn’t your fault

Firstly realise that it isn’t your fault. I repeat IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

People can appear competent and reliable in interviews.

Almost everyone is on their best behaviour in an interview, therefore poor conduct can be difficult to spot.

Also, consider if you ever properly learned how to interview. From a professional.

Most hirers either learn from someone who hasn’t been trained properly, or draw on previous experience

We think of interviews we’ve been involved in in the past, and we copy those.

For many of us it’s the only point of reference and we know no other way.

How can that be your fault?

Fortunately there is another way to avoid a bad hiring experience. Improving your interview skills.

music Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash

Face the music

So many people who’ve had a bad hiring experience don’t do anything about it.

They put their heads in the sand like an ostrich. They ignore it and carry on as normal.

Then what happens? The problems persist and get worse.

It becomes even harder to deal with.

If this is you, then you must face the music and start managing the situation.

Don’t put it off any longer.

Dealing with it and having the difficult conversation is never as bad as we think it will be.

Not dealing with it will make you feel worse.

Take back control. You’ll feel so relieved when you’ve done it.

Identify the issue(s)

Firstly identify the issues and define the problems.

What standards did you expect them to meet that they have not met?

Are your standards fair and realistic?

For example are you expecting a new starter to perform tasks at the same speed as you if they lack experience in your ways of working? Have they been trained to do what you want them to do?

Is it a capability or conduct issue?

Is it so serious it could be gross misconduct? If so, you will need to follow your disciplinary procedure.

Clarify expectations

Now consider if you’ve clarified your expectations with the employee previously.

If the new starter is unclear about what you expect, they may not even realise there is a problem.

If you’ve made assumptions, then you might NOT have hired the wrong person and it could just be a mismatch in expectations. This is very common.

Never assume that your expectations are obvious. Be specific.

It’s always best to spell out your expectations from the get go.

For example, if your employee is showing up late every day, you may assume they are unreliable.

Understandably so. It’s common sense that employees need to show up on time.

However, it could be the case that lateness was acceptable at their last place of work as long as time was made up at the end of the day.

Your new employee may assume that every company is the same, including yours.

Sometimes just spelling out what you expect is enough to correct the problem.

If you haven’t been clear around expectations, it’s time to do it now.

Two men talking. Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Hold a private meeting

Discreetly invite the employee to a private meeting.

Be mindful not to embarrass them or ignite the rumour mill if there are other people about.

Approach the meeting in a calm manner. If you feel emotional, process your emotions in private. Don’t bring them into the meeting and don’t raise your voice.

Stick to the facts. If there are several issues, separate them and deal with each one individually.

Show respect. Respect is one of my core values. You can read more about that here.

Be sure to document the meeting or record it with the candidate’s permission. This is so that you have a record on file in case you need evidence later to discipline or dismiss them.

In the meeting, ask:-

1. How are things going? A good open question to get their feedback so far.

2. Why do you think I’ve called you to this meeting? This will inform you if the candidate is aware of the problem.

3. Your performance/conduct isn’t meeting the required standard.

4. This is the standard I expect.

5. What are your thoughts and feelings about this? Get their feedback. This will help you identify other issues that may be impacting their performance that you’re unaware of.

*** If there’s been a mismatch in expectations you can stop here. Put a note on their file with the date, time and a brief summary of the conversation. If the employee does not improve, repeat the process, bring the file note to the next meeting as evidence and follow the next steps.***

6. This is your performance that needs to be improved. Here’s how it measures up to the standard(s) at the moment.

7. This is what I expect from you from now on. Set one or more specific SMART targets.

8. Explain the possible outcomes. E.g Failure to meet these targets could lead to disciplinary action or dismissal. This depends on the legalities in your location and consistency history in disciplinary proceedings within your company.

 8. What are your thoughts/feelings? What support do you need to achieve the target? Get their feedback and agree on support that will be provided if required.

9. This is when we will meet again to review. Diarise another meeting. Give them a copy of the targets and possible outcomes.

Monitor and review

Monitor the employee’s progress.

If they step out of line, always address it immediately; don’t save it up for the review meeting.

Have another private meeting or send them an email. For example:- “I noticed you logged on at 9.20 today, 20 minutes late.”  Be sure to keep a record of it for the review meeting.

Bring all the evidence to the review meeting and go over the target and their performance.

If it’s still not up to standard (and there are no circumstances preventing them from hitting the target) your options are:-

  • Repeat the process. Set more targets, monitor and review.
  • Start disciplinary proceedings.
  • Dismiss them IF legislation allows. In some geographical areas this is fine; in others it is illegal.


Important notes

If you’re dismissing someone or invoking the disciplinary procedure then you will need to be sure you treat all employees the same.

Be consistent. If someone else in your company is guilty of the same thing and you’re not taking them through the disciplinary procedure too, then you could be liable for bullying by singling someone out.

Also be aware of equality legislation whenever you discipline or dismiss someone.

Be sure what your doing isn’t discrimination and cannot be interpreted as discrimination.

I recommend speaking to a local employment legislation expert if you are unsure.


How to avoid hiring mistakes

Up-level your interview skills. Doing this will enable you to ask the right questions and extract good quality information.

In my ‘how to interview’ course you will learn how to do this and how to evaluate interviews and select the best candidates.

Communicate your expectations before, during and after the interview.

In ‘How to interview’ we teach you how to pre-qualify candidates and provide a checklist for their induction training.

The course is currently half price! You lucky, lucky person. Click here to purchase it.

Remember – a bad hiring experience can be avoided with the right interview skills.

Thank you for reading.

With big boss level love,


From Sharon

PS… 3 ways to get involved :-

  1. Join my FREE Facebook group of fabulous business leaders and managers.
  2. Check out my course ‘How to interview candidates for a job’ here.
  3. Subscribe below and get you FREE GUIDE on How to SAVE MONEY on your recruitment spend.