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4 Ways to Spot a Bad Hire

Posted by Natalie Pike on January 15, 2015

I've learned a million things since I started working at Hireology, however there's one thing that sticks out among the rest--a strong company culture. Chief Hireologist, Adam Robinson, said, "authentic culture is really easy to spot: you can feel it.  It’s inescapable, invigorating and infectious to those who are a part of it." It's the most important success factor for a company. 

A smooth and productive day in the office happens when the right people are there. If the wrong person is there, they stick out like a sore thumb. According to Kevin Daum, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, "it's not always easy to spot these bad apples, especially when times are good. But there are definite signs when someone is creating an unnecessary hassle for everyone else."

Four successful Inc. employees explain the easiest ways to spot a bad hire.

1. Core values

Hireology has 5 core values that we live and die for. It's what we follow every day of the year and it's what makes our company culture so strong. If good core values are properly enforced, it'll attract the right people and make the wrong ones become more noticeable.

"If your core values are intentionally integrated into your review process you will notice quickly the people who are struggling before they become hugely problematic. Then you can push a little harder getting them to conform. Or at least if they can't happily fit the culture, the added pressure will encourage them to leave." - Kevin Daum, Inc. 500 entrepreneur and best-selling author

2. Keep an eye out for their reactions.

 The right hires know your company culture inside and out. When there's a crisis, they know how to handle it.

"If your culture truly supports the idea that the customer comes first, people do whatever it takes, almost regardless of "guidelines" and "procedures" and rules. So if an employee doesn't automatically respond in a way that supports the culture--whatever that culture might be--it's pretty obvious." - Jeff Haden, Owner's Manual

3. Are they even trying? 

In the past, I've seen employees walk in the door at 9:00am and leave at exactly 5:00pm regardless of what did or didn't get done that day. A bad hire doesn't care about what needs to be accomplished. They watch the clock and when it's technically time to go, they do. 

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"When I was a manager at a software company years ago, business moved at a very quick pace. A couple of my employees just didn't want to put in the extra effort required to be fully participating members of my team. After trying to change them (mistake!), I realized that they just didn't fit the culture of my department. I helped them find positions elsewhere in the company where their personalities were a better fit." - Peter Economy, The Management Guy

4. They're letting you down. 

As I mentioned before, having a strong company culture is the most important success factor for a business. Unfortunately, most hiring managers don't have a clue on how to build one. 

"Your culture and company values are at the core of just about any decision you make, including who you bring on board and how you manage them. You'll know when someone doesn't fit in as they are likely to let you or your team down quite often. They may even upset customers and cause office disputes. More than anything, you'll know it in your heart." - Marla Tabaka, The Successful Soloist

I think it's safe to say that the majority of business's out there have made a hiring mistake once or twice. Don't worry, it's not the end of the world...yet. Keep your eyes peeled for these signals before it's too late. Once you've got them down pat, you'll prevent yourself from making a bad hire in the first place.

Don't lose sleep over an employee that's not up to par. Download our complimentary eBook and start hiring the right team. Enjoy!

hiring your medal-winning team

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Company Culture, How to Hire


Natalie Pike

About the Author

Natalie is Hireology's Inbound Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite topics to write about are how to hire millennials, building a strong company culture, and employee engagement. She is a Purdue University graduate (Boiler up!), social media junkie and avid iced coffee drinker.