Small businesses cannot afford to make bad hiring decisions. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. One employee missing deadlines consistently can bog down the whole company. A single poorly worded tweet can result in a public relations snafu that can slow down your growth for months, if not years.
The problem many small business owners face is figuring out when they're about to make a hiring mistake. Fortunately, there are a few thought patterns and phrases that can serve as red flags. Below, Victor Mitchell, a serial entrepreneur who has successfully founded, acquired, and/or turned around numerous diverse business ventures over the past 30 years, describes these dangerous phrases that indicate you’re about to make a hiring mistake.
Knowing these warnings can be the difference between finding the right person and settling for someone who could hinder your growth.
1. "Their technical skills outweigh their lack of social skills."
An employee with lopsided skillsets, such as people who can't get along with others but have unmatched technical skills, may cause trouble for your business. That sort of person only functions in fiction. In real life, you face a problem employee.
It doesn't matter how good they are at their primary tasks if they get into fights regularly. You may have had some experience working with someone grating, someone who takes everything as an insult or delivers insults with each breath. Imagine that in your small business, distracting your employees from their jobs. Being in a startup or small business is stressful enough without having someone continually bringing you down.
Employees who can't get along will hold your company hostage because how it runs will be dependent on their behavior. Keep in mind that the inverse is true as well - it doesn't matter how charismatic someone is if they can't do their job.
2. "They'll fit in eventually."
Company culture is an often-discussed part of a successful venture. It's what determines who you hire, what you do, and what people expect to experience while working in your company, among other things. If people don't know what to expect from their day, they'll have trouble sticking around or committing to the company.
Problems can arise if you start hiring people that don't jive with company culture. It seems like such a small thing - how much damage can one disruptive element do? A lot, in truth. If they don't fit your requirements for an employee in their behavior, they shouldn't be in your company.
3. "They're temporary employees."
One thought that many small business owners take as a vote in a candidate's favor is the idea that they're replaceable. The moment a better candidate comes along, they can always replace someone you never really thought fit the position. The problem is, whether or not you replace them, they'll still be in your company. “They can still hurt your bottom line and affect your growth because they're unqualified for one reason or another,” stated Victor Mitchell.
Not only is this bad for your bottom line, because hiring people isn't cheap, it's also bad for morale. People will notice that you just replaced Barb in accounting the moment someone more qualified came along. Many will court the thought that they might be next on the chopping block and thus quietly make preparations to leave.
4. "Better someone than no one."
If the position isn't filled, the job isn't being done. That sentence is what gets small business owners to hire people just so they can have warm bodies on a task. The problem is they'll probably do the job poorly and can end up costing you more money and time than if you had just done the job yourself while waiting for someone qualified. Keep looking for someone who meets your criteria and make do until then.
5. "They'll grow into it."
Hiring employees with potential for growth is a smart move. Ideally, you're getting someone who can already do the job and can grow into someone who'll be an even greater asset to the company. Problems arise when they're all potential, though. Just because they're smart doesn't mean they can do the job. They need the right skillset and experience. You want butterflies that can transform into something greater, not caterpillars who're still forming their cocoons.
Hiring the right people has a significant impact on your small business's potential. It's not just about filling seats; it's about finding people who fit your requirements and can help take your startup to the next level. When you hear yourself thinking or saying these phrases, take a step back and rethink what you're about to do to your company.
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