Three Times to NOT Hire a Person

Don't hire

There is little that is more important for an organization than having the right people on the team. When interviewing potential candidates for an open position, it can be tempting to hire a person too quickly in order to get the role filled. Perhaps you have interviewed several people and have come down to a couple of candidates that you really like. This is not the time to get sloppy, but the time to make sure that you are making the right hire.  Here are 3 times to not hire a person.

1. When You are Unsure

When in doubt don’t hire. Say it out loud: When in doubt don’t hire. All together now: When in doubt don’t hire. If you are unsure about hiring someone then don’t do so until you are no longer unsure. I am not saying that if you have a twinge of hesitancy that you should shut the whole thing down. But if you have any more than a twinge, then step back and evaluate your doubt. This is a good time to get feedback from others around you who have been involved in the process. If you, or the others around you, are unsure, then don’t hire. The stakes are too high for you to gamble with this kind of decision. Don’t hire until you are sure.

2. When You are Seeing Red (or even Yellow) Flags

If you are seeing red/yellow flags before a person has even been hired, then slow way down. Example: if a person shows poor follow-through skills in getting you requested documents, returning calls, or responding to emails before you even hire her, imagine what life might be like once she is in the position. Remember, a potential hire is most likely putting her best foot forward prior to being hired. Red/Yellow flags need to be carefully explored before you bring any person onto your team. When you see red flags before a person has even been hired, then step back and don’t move forward.

3. When The Potential Hire is Hesitant

If a potential hire shows hesitancy after you have extended an offer, then step back and don’t hire yet. In fact, you should seriously consider rescinding the offer. A person should be most enthusiastic before taking a role, not hesitant. Adjusting to a new role, culture, and environment is hard enough even when you are sure that you are doing the right thing. Hiring a person for a role that he is hesitant to take indicates danger ahead. Attempting to convince him to take the role could backfire later when the true reasons for his hesitancy are not addressed. If he is expressing hesitancy then rescind the offer and move on.

There is little that is more important for an organization than having the right people on the team. When in doubt, don’t hire.

Also Read –  Firing 101: How to Fire a Person

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Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

  1. The comments on when not to hire are bang on target! These lessons ring true with my experience, so thanks for saying it.


  2. From a previous professional life as a (retained search) headhunter, I entirely agree with your points and many times gave the same advice to clients. However, these points are very employer oriented. The truth is that many appointments are mis-represented by potential employers with candidates not given an honest picture of context, challenges and threats. In particular, assistant/team roles are often sold as growth opportunities with promises of development input where those responsible have no plan, skills, experience, etc to deliver that development or intention to create the growth opportunities.

    With regard to church-based appointments, it’s a sad truth that churches and lead pastors play on the godly character and gracious character of employees in such a way that terms and conditions are not respected and delivered, people feel trapped and a good reference is refused to be given to facilitate a move (in worst cases, bad references are given as a cover for the employers failures).

    Both in my own experience and that of peers who I was at bible college with, I can think of many situations where churches and lead pastors/elder-boards who on a wider level are well spoken of and respected have behaved appallingly.


  3. […] Also Read: Three Times to Not Hire a Person […]


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