How to Spot You Have Made the Wrong Hire

what to do, and how to prevent it

A big problem nowadays is teams welcoming a new hire only to see that the person is the wrong fit for the job to be done.

Why is it a problem?

  • (for the team) - it is not great to have new people coming and going all the time

  • (for the company) - money is spent without receiving benefits. Money spent during the hiring process, and the salaries paid to the new team member until the day they leave.

  • (for the hiring manager) - he/she has to do it all over again. Hiring is no easy task. It is mentally draining and distracting. Avoid repeating when possible.

  • (for the project) - the work has stagnated. Deadlines are pushed to the future, features are not being delivered.

All of these 4 points amount to a loss in productivity and positive outcomes.

We all agree it is best to ignore situations like this.


How do you know that this person is the wrong hire and needs to go?

  1. Performance issues - the person is not delivering what the company needs.

  2. Lack of teamwork and reluctance to learn - we are humans. We need to work with others. We need to read, evolve so we move forward and solve our daily challenges. It is rare that a person knows every single thing there is about the job before starting.

  3. [The Hard No] Unacceptable behavior - during on-boarding, most companies set the rules about what is okay to happen and be discussed at work and what is not. When the new hire crosses these boundaries, the first course of action is a warning. The second - preparing his/her transition out of your company.


  1. Performance issues - Set goals and deadlines to each goal. The goals need to be measurable, e.g. send 100 emails to sales prospects a week. If, after 5 weeks, only 213 emails are sent and the recipients email addresses are already listed, 500 emails should have been sent.

  2. Lack of teamwork and reluctance to learn - the person does not help when a colleague asks for advice. The new hire waits for a colleague to tell them exactly what to do, for every single task.

  3. [The Hard No] Unacceptable behavior - these can be both legal and psychological. Legal - distributing trade secrets or IP (Intellectual Property). Working for a competitor in parallel to working with you. Any form of harassment. Violence. Theft. Substance abuse. I am sure you follow my train of thought here ….


When you spot any of the signs above, it is time to let the new hire go.

The sooner, the better.

I know this is one of the most difficult tasks that you will ever have to do at work.

🦹 If you need help with this, reach out to me - and I will make it the least painful for you and the person you are about to let go.


  • before hiring

Create a list of responsibilities that come along with the job. Mention the activities which this position excludes. Attach these to the job description.

Add weekly and monthly goals. Describe the (digital) tools to use every day.

  • during the hiring process

Briefly walk each candidate through the list of responsibilities. Go through the list of tools, meetings and expectations.

  • after you welcome the new person to the team

Make sure you follow up once a week. Measure each goal’s progress.

Example: Only 78 emails were sent this week. Dig deeper and understand why. Maybe the new hire spent a lot of time following up with leads. This is great, excellent! He booked 7 intro calls. Consider the goal complete.

Counter example: Only 13 emails were sent. The new hire explains that this is difficult, and because of this the volume is low. A promise to do better next week is presented.


We all make mistakes.

These mistakes cost us. Money. Nerves. Delays.

This is okay. It is normal.

And even if you have made the wrong hire, you will just be one of us. The entrepreneurs and hiring managers, who - just like you - made an honest mistake and did not know how to spot it until it blinds us.

If it blinds you right now - you know what you have to do. Let go, and do it again. Do it better.

I am Kat Stam, and I wish you an epic Tuesday!

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