Why Employers Should Hire Slowly and Fire Quickly

By Attorney Lester S. Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (www.ESRcheck.com)

the best HR strategy is to hire slow fire fast.There are two critical mistakes employers can make when it comes to hiring and firing.  First, many employers are in such a rush to hire that they make an offer to the best available candidate just to fill the position instead of waiting for the right candidate.  With a retiring workforce, shortages of talent in certain areas, and uncertainty about new workers from legal immigration, employers may be hard-pressed to fill positions quickly and act with a sense of urgency.

The other mistake is that employers are often too slow to fire.  The fear of firing leads many employers to suffer through the long process of trying to make a bad hire work out.  An employer or manager may feel that it is less trouble to put up with a bad employee than start the process of hiring a new one, or perhaps just does not want to deal with an uncomfortable situation or a hard conversation.  Sometimes an employer will keep someone who seems essential, even though, in reality, it is in everyone’s best interest to part ways. An employer may justify holding on by saying even though the person is disruptive, they are performing well or can do certain things no one else can do.

The solution is simple.  Employers need to adopt a policy to hire slow and fire fast.  

When it comes to hiring, too many firms follow the advice of Crosby, Stills, & Nash: “And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with!”

Companies around the world need to know how to find good talent. The simple rule is not to hire the best person who applied.  Wait to hire the best person for the job, so you hire the best.  If the best applicant has not yet applied, then do not settle just for the best of what is available. Instead, take action towards getting the ideal candidates to apply or to source passive candidates who will fit the bill.

If you are not getting the right applicants, ask yourself why.  Does your job description convey what type of candidates you want to attract?  Are you looking in the right places?  Is your recruiting effort focused in a way to enhance the likelihood of success?  Are you an employer that candidates want to work for?   In addition, are you networking in the industry or giving appropriate consideration to promoting from within?

The bottom line is to not hesitate to start the hiring process all over with the changes needed to find the right candidates you want.  There is no reason to settle.

On the other side of the coin, if it is clear that a current or a new employee is not working out, employers should not delay the inevitable.  Termination is not fun, and some employers may wait in the hope that the employee will suddenly change or can be put someplace where they can be helpful, or at least not harmful.

take the time to hire slow fire fast or you may have a hiring mistake.When it gets to that point, the best alternative is to pull the Band-Aid quickly and get the termination done.  The fact is, after a day or two of pain caused by worrying about it and then doing it, everyone will be better off.  The day after the termination, when the tension level or the degree of discomfort drops, your employees will thank you, and you will wonder why you did not do it sooner.

And how often have you seen a supposedly “irreplaceable” person be terminated, only to realize that the organization functions just fine the next day without them?

There are numerous tools employers can use to attract and retain the right person to avoid these two stumbling blocks.  Just go to any recruiting or human resources trade show and the exhibit floor will be full of potential solutions for hiring.  Among the numerous solutions (to name a few) are firms that will help you optimize job descriptions, identify traits needed in a star performer, develop an employer brand to attract the best candidates, maximize job postings, utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and recruiting tools, create employment portals, train on behavior-based interviews, provide video interview services, or provide pre-hire assessment and numerous other tools.

Here is the problem with all these services:  None of them will solve your hiring process problems if, as an organization, you do not have clarity about who you are, what you do, how you do it, and where you are going.

hiring slow will decrease the need to fire employees and find the right talent for your company culture and expectations. As basic as it sounds, all hiring and employment decisions, including retention and promotion, must stem from a company’s core values.  And the key process for doing that is to make sure your company is “congruent.”

Personal congruency means that what you feel, what you think, and what you say are aligned and consistent.

The same applies to an organization – there is also a need for clarity and congruency on who and what the employer is all about. To run most efficiently, organizations also need to be congruent about their core values, goals, and the way they function.  Making certain that a company is congruent and connected to its values is a key function of Human Resources (HR), and it is critical for HR professionals to do what they can to bring congruency to an organization.  Once an organization is clear about its values, runs the company based on them, and evaluates each new hire and employee performance on that basis, hiring should be much more effective and the need to fire should diminish greatly.



Lester Rosen - ceo of employment screening resources www.esrcheck.comLester S. Rosen is an attorney at law and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (www.ESRcheck.com ), an accredited national background screening company headquartered  in California.  It was rated the top enterprise level screening firm in the U.S. in the prestigious HRO Today rankings.

He is the author of, “The Safe Hiring Manual– The Complete Guide to Employment Screening Background Checks for Employers, Recruiters and Jobseekers (826 pages-Facts on Demand Press/3d Edition 2017), the first comprehensive book on employment screening.

He is also a consultant, writer and frequent presenter nationwide on pre-employment screening and safe hiring issues.  His speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences and webinars.

He has qualified and testified in courts cases as an expert witness on issues surrounding hiring and due diligence.  He has been quoted extensively in numerous Human Resources and national publications.

Mr. Rosen was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), the official voice of the background screening industry, and served as the first co-chairman in 2004.  He received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement award in 2019.