Dr. Bob Wright | November 5, 2015

I Hired the
Wrong Employee

How many of us have found ourselves desperate to find the right employee to fill a role in our company?

We might be so desperate that we turn a blind eye to red flags in the screening process or we “go with our heart” instead of our gut. Sometimes the pool and sheer number of candidates for a position can seem overwhelming, so we become lackadaisical in our approach—thinking, “I don’t have time to screen 60 candidates for one position.”

Well, guess what? You don’t have time to deal with an HR nightmare either. It’s a lot easier to screen out the wrong candidate from the front end than it is to try to untangle the wrong person from the wrong position later on.

Let’s say you’ve done your due diligence but things just aren’t going well a few months in. Whenever we hire a new employee, there’s almost always a honeymoon period: the time when we’re first being “wooed” and “wooing.” Unfortunately, that period can leave us with some nasty surprises once reality sets in.

Be “fast to fire.” When you see things aren’t going well, it’s far better to lay it on the table right away than wait until you and the new employee have invested a great deal of both your time trying to make it work.

Better Candidate Screening: Here’s How…

When we did clinical hiring, we received hundreds of resumes, so we’d put 30 candidates through the interview process. That may seem like a lot, but it’s the only way to quickly separate the “can dos” from the “won’t dos” and prevent you from getting too deeply engaged later on.

Turn up the heat in an interview and ask the difficult questions. You want candidates who are able to show insight, reflect high emotional intelligence, and those who can think on their feet and respond well to others.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in hiring is when no one bothered to test the candidate to see if the had the skills for the job. You can use the Wright C.A.R.E. Profile test to assess personality, the Wonderlic test series which provides a wide range of skill and pre-employment testing tools to help you screen employees, or other tests that show outcomes and give you a general picture of whether or not this hire’s personality and skills match their resume AND fit the requirements of the position.

Emotional intelligence is one of the highest outcome predictors in terms of sales, client interaction and long-term employment. Not only that, but an employee’s willingness to go through the paces and prove themselves can be a strong sign of what’s to come.

One of my personal favorite screening techniques? A simple typing test. I find typing speed and ability can be a strong indicator of intelligence and a predictor of someone who has a skill set that fits with most basic office technology. Is it necessary in all fields? Of course not. But if it’s applicable to your office, it’s certainly doesn’t hurt.

Ensure Your Prospective Employee is Invested in “Our” Vision

Another major predictor for success? Does your new prospect or new employee refer to their team or to the company as “us,” “our project,” and “our team”? Showing ownership and collaboration right from the start is a strong indicator of how that person views their future with your business. People who continuously refer to things as “your project” or talk about their former employer as “they” are putting some distance between themselves and the work—and there’s likely a reason behind that worth exploring.

Ask the employee what they see as their vision for the first few months of employment with your company? How do they plan to collaborate with others? How do they see themselves as part of a team on the way to success? Get them to engage and discuss the ways they’re willing to join in and help.

Even if you’re running your own startup or you don’t have a big group to work with, the sign that they’re willing to and committed to investing time, intellect and emotion is a powerful notion. It shows trustworthiness and is indicative of a good reputation.

Read more on this topic: Vision Sharing at Work.

Getting a Second Opinion is Worth It

Once you know the skills you’re looking for and your prospect has completed the proper screening tools, have them interview with a panel of two or three others from your company.

Even if you’re a company of just one or two, getting a second opinion on your assessment of that prospective employee’s potential can really help to solidify the decision and weed out any issues you may have overlooked.

Your interview panel should represent a well-balanced team of Cooperators, Analyzers, Regulators and Energizers. If you’re an Analyzer, you might not notice the lack of emotion or investment they’re showing, but a Cooperator sure as heck will pick up on it. Likewise, hire people who offset your personality strengths so you have a well-balanced team ready to face any situation.

Ensuring new employees are well screened and invested in your team and your company can help you find the right employees more quickly and lower your turnover rate. You’ll connect with your new hire on things outside of just “working for a paycheck” and you’ll even find ways to push yourselves further and grow. It can be very exciting to find someone who’s enrolled in your vision, fired up about the same things you are, and holds your projects as dear as you do. Use your due diligence and put in a little extra work on the front end so you can have success for everyone long-term.

If you want to know more about how to work on your own social and emotional intelligence and growth, join us for our next More Life Training, January 15-17, 2016. Don’t miss our transformative high-value weekend. [Learn more!]
Want to boost your career? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

Want to improve your sales? The Wright Sales Program is a hands-on, experiential program that provides sales professionals with an opportunity to boost their sales performance through the application of social and emotional intelligence to their selling techniques. [Learn more!]

About the Author


Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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