What if You Think You've Hired the Wrong Person?

When you discover that you may have hired the wrong person for the job, your choices boil down to basically two options:

  • • Identify the challenges the employee is facing and determine which ones, if any, can be developed, or
  • • Counsel the employee out of the job (another term for "firing" them)


You have to ask yourself, "Have I done everything I can do to help the individual succeed?" An employee may be struggling in the job for a variety of reasons, whether it is job fit, need for further training (or being trained in a different learning style), personality conflicts within the workplace, or even personal struggles outside of work. Assuming the problem is not job fit, we offer these ideas for developing a struggling employee:

  • Discuss employee strengths/weaknesses:  The objective is to communicate expectations on both sides of the table.  Often times employees are harder on themselves than any supervisor could be. We recommend a 360º review program where both the employee and supervisor get a level playing field for discussing the employee's strengths and weaknesses.  For more information on job specific performance evaluations, please contact us directly at info@selectadv.net and request a complimentary Performance Evaluation.
  • Spend more time with the employee:  Training programs for new employees may vary from several weeks to even a year.  You want to make sure the training is sufficient for the employee to succeed.
  • Peer training:  Sometimes getting an experienced point of view, or engaging in a new learning environment, will help a struggling employee overcome a trouble spot. This is a great way to help an employee who is struggling in one particular area.
  • Raise or lower expectations:  Right or wrong, expectations do factor into whether someone succeeds or fails.  Some people need to raise their expectations of struggling employees and others may need to lower some of their expectations.  Remember, each person learns and is motivated differently.
  • Skills training (if needed):  Sometimes extra training in a given area will change the "wrong person" to the "right person".  However, some parts of the job are not teachable and are things the employee either brings with them or does not.  We call these behaviors.  Traits such as honesty, responsibility, and being a team player are some examples of innate behaviors.
  • Find other ways to challenge/motivate the employee:  Everyone is motivated differently.  Some by appreciation, some by the completion of the project, and others by a variety of methods.  Do you really know how to motivate each employee?  If done well, motivated employees show incredible loyalty and production.


The most important fact to remember is this:  If you do not believe in the employee anymore, then they will never be successful.

The second part of this article, "Counseling an Employee Out of the Job" is available here.  Please contact Select Advantage today for more information on how our job-specific behaviorally based assessments can put the RIGHT employee in the job in the first place and avoid the problem of hiring the "wrong person"!