Eban Pagan is credited with saying “hire slowly, fire quickly.” While this is sage advice and completely relevant in a perfect world, nowadays it seems like hiring managers and business owners no longer have the luxury of interviewing a lot of people for a position and taking weeks to make a hiring decision. Speed in hiring people has become very important because of the competition with other companies for the stubbornly small and shallow pool of talent. And while speed is important, quality of hire should not and cannot be ignored for the sake of that speed. There are definite pitfalls to rushing the hiring process, circumventing steps in qualifying people, and hiring too quickly.
Speed and quality are said to be inversely proportional, the more one rushes something, the more likely the quality of the output will be lower. This principle also applies to hiring people. Lowering the quality standards of candidates just to get someone hired quickly is not a good, or sustainable, solution to satisfying the staffing needs of an organization. There is ample evidence from a litany of sources that the cost of a bad hire is very expensive, both in terms of invested time and in hard dollars. Additionally, the impact of adopting this kind of hiring brings risks to the company’s efforts to retain their existing staff.
One of the risks of hiring to quickly is the toll on an exhausted and overworked team and manager taking the time to train a new employee, only to have that person not work out. The disruption, especially if it’s repeated, can be disheartening to the staff because they are really looking forward to the help. The disappointment of wasted time and effort, especially in a situation where the team is already working very hard can eventually lead to disengagement. There is a true emotional toll to the turnover and the result can be even more turnover.
Another risk of hiring too quickly is adding someone potentially toxic to the chemistry of the team. With the pressure mounting for teams to increase productivity with the same or even less resources, the employees that are getting things done build a unique bond with each other. These shared experiences, both good and bad, build a level of trust and respect over time. However, that bond can be fragile and can be subject to disruption with the addition of someone new that hasn’t been properly vetted for their fit into the team’s and company’s culture.
Both factors can seriously jeopardize retention of a company’s existing employees and only further exacerbate an already stressful situation of being understaffed and overworked. The good news is that one can in fact balance speed with quality when it comes to staffing. However, this is not an easy, or steady, balance. It’s dynamic, situational, and unpredictable. This balance starts with looking at ways to increase the efficiency of your recruiting, interviewing, and the hiring of talent within a company. It’s ensuring that you maintain or even increase your interviewing capabilities and standards, continue to use, or add, behavioral assessments to aid with identifying cultural fit within the team and company. The key is a responsive and steady pace to your recruiting and hiring process while adding efficiencies. The costs and risks associated with just hiring faster and sacrificing part of the processes that built your existing team are too great not to be deliberate and mindful about balancing both speed and effectiveness.