Hiring the Right Person- How Many People Does it Really Take?

Posted on August 24, 2011.

Hiring the right person may be the most important job you have as a manager. So you need to get it right.  That’s why so many companies spend so much money and use tools like Situational Interviews, Personality Tests, and even IQ tests.

But in my experience, nothing replaces your gut.  Here’s what happened the one time I failed to listen to it.

About five years ago, I needed to fill a critical Business Development role in one of our offices.  I found that it’s helpful to have some of the folks that currently do the same job speak with the candidates and then share their opinions. After all, they’re going to have work with that person every day. So that's what I did when I hired Cameron.

On paper, Cameron was exceptionally qualified.  After interviewing  the top three candidates, every one of the peer group came back with accolades for Cameron. “We must hire Cameron. He’s the best!” Normally, we were all on the same page, but this time, my gut was telling me this was the wrong fit.  When I took Cameron to lunch, he droned on for thirty minutes about nonsense and I couldn’t wait to get the check. And this person was going to be out developing business?  But I ignored my gut feeling and let the team persuade me to hire Cameron.  Here’s what happened:

  • After the first 30 days, everyone in the office was complaining about his condescending manner and elitist attitude
  • Potential customers were not engaged by his less than exciting personality
  • Cameron failed to make his goals
  • I had to let him go

I’ve made many mistakes as a manger, but hiring mistakes can have the most emotional impact to you, your staff and the person hired.  It’s not a bad thing to factor in the opinion of others, but there is no substitute for your gut feeling.

Tell us about some of your hiring mistakes or how you got it right.