How to resolve a bad hire

By Nicola Bull, Informatics Ventures

The final blog in this series on executive recruitment is hopefully one that you shouldn’t need, but something you should be aware of.

If you have followed the executive search process and invested the appropriate resources into finding your team the frequency of a bad hire should be minimal. If however a candidate doesn’t work out within 6-9 months the search agency will generally begin the search again for no fee assuming the brief has not changed.

If you follow a more ad hoc recruitment process, unfortunately bad hires can be more common. When they do happen though your priority is resolving the situation quickly with the least amount of damage to your business.

The first step is to understand the reasons behind why the hire may have gone wrong. The best course of action is to be upfront with the individual in question and talk to them about the situation. It may be that they are just in the wrong role and therefore a revised role is required, or they need more support rather than the more drastic removal of them from the company.

However, if it is clear that they are just not the right fit then the best thing to do is handle the situation promptly and with integrity. Time is important because the longer they remain in post the more damage they may be doing to team morale which can be very costly to your business in the long run. Integrity is essential to preserve relationships both with the individual and the remaining management team. Be up front with the individual that the situation is not working, don’t try to do things behind the scenes as not only will this be unpleasant for the person, but you could also lose the respect of the rest of your team.

Relationships in business cannot be underestimated. Business communities can be small and networks even smaller so you really have to think of the long term when handling a dismissal. You don’t know when you will meet the person again, or one of their contacts so although it may be difficult in some circumstances, your objective is to try to end the relationship on a positive note with both parties satisfied with the outcome.

Throughout this whole period you need to know your legal position so consult with an employment lawyer to understand both your rights and the individuals. This way you can be sure you are holding the right conversations and have protected the company should things turn less pleasant. However, approaching the situation with integrity and leaving the relationship on a positive note should minimise this risk.

Over the last week we’ve covered the key considerations when building your executive team and would like to thank Judy Wagner of FWB Park Brown for her invaluable contribution to this series and advice on building your team with an executive search agency. We look forward to watching your teams grow and businesses flourish as you take this important next step to scaling your company.

FWB Park Brown is an executive search company which advises and supports its clients on how to identify and recruit Board level (Non -Executive and Executive (c-level)) and Senior Management talent. The company consists of executive search professionals, researchers and administrators who have considerable experience of executive search across a range of disciplines, functions and geographies. Within each office are specialists who operate in the global energy and infrastructure sectors.