How to Take Action When You Hire Someone and Come to Regret ItInevitably as a business owner, you will make one mistake that you’ll look back on and wonder how you ever thought it was a good idea.  We all have our own stories of doing this –it seems to be an unspoken rite of passage in the world of owning a business!

But what is that one thing? That one thing is you’re going to hire someone and then come to regret it.  Some of you reading this are probably already laughing because you know exactly what I mean.  Others could be in the midst of this right now, so you might not think it’s so funny.  No matter how established you are, remember that this happens to all of us, but matters even more are the actions you take next.

1) Don’t Take It Personally

Anytime you hire someone, whether an employee or a service provider, you’re rolling the dice.  Regardless of how well someone interviews or the bank of credentials and references they bring with them, sometimes the fit just isn’t right between the two parties.  What makes this so difficult for most small business owners is they take it personally.

You want the people around you to succeed, because in fact, you want to succeed.  Your underperformers are daily reminders that things are not working out as well as you desire and whether you recognize it or not, not doing anything about it will slowly erode your own confidence as a leader.

2) Take Action

When you are faced with these situations, take charge and be prepared to take action.  No matter how much you hope and pray for the situation to get better, unless you do something there is no possibility of it happening.

  • Review the requirements for the positions and clearly define the actual skills and abilities an individual would need to do the job.  Rank them in terms of importance for the position.  It is important to look at the job rather than the individual who is currently doing it.
  • Evaluate the individual against the criteria you identified above.  Identify where there are gaps in their skills and abilities.  Recognize the areas where they are performing well and where they are struggling.  Make sure you identify both.
  • Look at the skills you identified as being critical for the position against the ranking of the individual.  If a skill is critical and yet the person performing the job ranks low in it, the next question is whether you or someone around you has the ability and time to assist in developing it.  If the answer is yes, then put a plan in place to make that happen.  If no, you might not have a good fit, not because of the person but because of the allocation of resources required to development them.

More times than not, I find when you really look into the details involved in underperformance and work specifically on those areas with the individual, in terms of feedback and development, they can be successful.  Too many times, underperformance is generalized to the person and it can be difficult to see what steps can be taken to grow the individual. There will be times, when there isn’t a fit, although in getting specific about what needs to be developed in an underperformer, you will be able to make a meaningful decision for you and your company.

Cathy is a Senior Partner in DiscoverYou, a company, focused on developing leaders through proprietary training and development programs.  Cathy is a guest blogger and speaker on the topics of leadership, engagement and business and writes her own weekly blog for DiscoverYou.  She is the co-author of two books; It Is What It Is, Or Is It…All About Business and the award winning book, You Couldn’t Have Told Me This Before I Started My Business?. Contact Cathy directly at