Hiring a bad apple has the potential to wreak substantial damage to your business. Research by Harvard Business School revealed recently that ‘toxic’ workers impact on business performance to a much greater degree than ‘superstar’ employees. Albeit negatively than positively.
You can easily identify toxic workers. These are the people who your other staff doesn’t want to work beside, the ones who may be cited as the reason for people leaving your business and who your clients and customers just don’t get on with.
But how can you ensure you don’t make hiring and employing them in the first place? Because Harvard’s research also reveals they traditionally perform very well at interviews.
Here are a few tips to consider if you want to avoid hiring bad employees for your small business.
Consider using psychometric testing at the interview stage before hiring. This reveals more about a candidate than you will ever learn from a series of rehearsed answers.
Test for communication, maths, and problem solving as these are the skill sets they will use day-to-day. Also, analyze their personality to see how they react to certain situations and within a team environment. Will they balance the personalities already working for you. Or rub them up the wrong way?
Additionally, if a person has a reference or two on their CV, phone them up and make sure you ask how much they pitched in and helped the group and what their relationships were like with colleagues.
It pays to be careful
We introduced temporary contracts for new starters, as a way of letting the business and the new recruit get to know each other.
This gives you time to size up your new staff member, analyze how they are fitting in and get feedback from your team.
They should be trying extra hard to stand out, in order to land the carrot of a permanent contract that you are dangling in front of them.
If temp to perm doesn’t fit with your business, all new starts should have a probation period (typically three months) built into contracts. Introduce a minimum of six months probation.
A probation period means you can let the person go at any time with few associated costs or harm to your business. If you do end someone’s employment during probation, always conduct an exit interview. The purpose of this is to discuss why the relationship hasn’t worked, allowing them to hopefully learn for their next job. If there have been disciplinary issues, ensure you’re calm and stick to the facts. It’s an unpleasant conversation, but one you must face like a boss.
Employ fresh from uni
Finally, a good way of avoiding bad apple syndrome is to hire graduates, ‘untainted’ by bad habits elsewhere.
This requires, however, that your business is able to train and develop staff and mold them to meet the requirements you demand.