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The best investment in any small business is hiring the right people. Unfortunately, even if you revamp your interview process to attract better candidates, you can’t always learn someone’s demeanor or work chemistry from just an interview. 

It’s important to figure out how to make sure new employees have a great first day and set them up for success, but you also need to know when to cut your losses. It’s likely that you’ve made a bad hire if you are seeing one or more of these behaviors:

1. They complain

Not only is it unprofessional, but complaining also demonstrates a lack of interest and dedication to the work. If an employee is always complaining, maybe this job isn’t for them, and there’s likely someone else who would be happy to do it in their place.

2. They make the same mistakes

A huge part of learning is making mistakes, but you want your new hires to be making new mistakes. If someone is repeating errors and missteps, they may have been given more responsibility than they can handle.

3. They don't have the skills promised

This kind of dishonesty doesn’t bode well for you nor for your customers and clients. If you’ve hired someone with a specific skill in mind, they should be able to apply it well.

4. They show up late

Arriving on time is major a component of just being an adult, but it also shows respect for a workplace. If an employee continually comes to work late, it’s not fair to anyone who is forced to pick up their slack or made to wait.

5. They aren’t liked by their co-workers

Not everyone is BFFs with their entire office, but most people can find a working relationship together. If someone isn’t liked by their co-workers, it could mean they aren’t trying, are not responsive to other co-workers, or don’t have the skills to make them an asset in the workplace.

6. They have a negative attitude

In a collaborative environment or when providing service to clients, it’s important to bring in a positive outlook. Employees who aren’t interested in improving or are overly cynical about their work likely can’t muster the requisite energy and conviction to make your workplace thrive.

7. They're always on social media/phone

Unless someone’s job is in social media, nothing indicates boredom and carelessness like playing around on a phone at work. There are always things to learn, organize, plan or improve upon, and the best employees are focused on work while they’re at work.

What to do next:

1. Get moving

If you get the feeling that someone is not fulfilling the expectations and duties of their position, don’t hesitate to bring it up with them and start making plans to remedy the situation. The longer you wait, the bigger the messes and losses you’ll have to clean up and recover.

2. Don’t do it alone

Check in with your team to see if anyone else has noticed poor performance. Chances are that people who have worked with a bad hire already know their shortcomings and can offer more details.

Or you might learn about positive characteristics that could make you change your mind. Keeping your team in the loop allows you to get as much perspective as possible.

3. Weigh the cost of firing them

Whenever you let someone go there is extra work that needs to be completed by someone else.

Talk to your team to learn the pros and cons of losing a person and how that might impact everyone else’s performance. This could affect your decision on how swiftly you need to replace an employee.

4. Determine if their deficiencies can be remedied with training

When you’ve already invested time and resources into an employee, it’s worth investing a little more to boost the quality of their work. By providing extra oversight, tutorials, or support, a relatively small change could get you the results you need.

5. Delegate their role to others

If you do determine that the best way forward is without a current member of your team, get a plan in place before you let them go. Divide up responsibilities among several parties and get all of the pieces in place so you don’t have a gaping hole in your business while you find a replacement.

6. Find out what went wrong

Everything is always clearer in hindsight. Look back on the process and find the clues along the way that should have told you this hire was not the right fit. Document them and create new practices so it doesn’t happen again!

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