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 “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” is Bad Advice

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - by thegoodjobs

by George Blomgren

I recently read an article promoting this advice, here on LinkedIn in fact. It’s the worst type of advice — the kind that sounds pithy and wise, but is really quite destructive.

Underlying this advice is the idea that hiring decisions have a huge impact — financially, and on your company’s culture and morale. So take the necessary time to make careful, well-informed hiring decisions. Similarly, employees who don’t fit — bad culture fit, or poor performance — have a significant negative impact. So you want to get them out the door ASAP.

Of course there is some wisdom underlying this advice. But consider the downsides

Hiring slowly is a great way to lose top candidates. The best candidates have the shortest shelf lives. And when they receive attractive offers from other employers, it’s a “bird in the hand” situation. Few will wait on your indecisiveness. In addition, delays in making a decision send a variety of negative messages to candidates — “we’re very bureaucratic.” “We like you, but not enough to pull the trigger.” “Hiring just isn’t a priority for us.” “When we told you (repeatedly) that we would have a decision by the end of next week … we lied.”

As for firing quickly … it’s a great way to cultivate a reputation as a ruthless work environment with no loyalty, compassion or employment security. Just watch those comments add up!

The answer, obviously, is to engineer a hiring/screening process that is thorough and covers all right bases, but moves along quickly. You don’t have to hire slow to hire well. And if you hire well, you shouldn’t have to fire quickly.

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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