7 Warning Signs You’re Hiring The Wrong Person

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Hiring new staff members is never easy. You have to sift through an excessive amount of CVs, just to find a handful of decent candidates. Not to mention the lengthy interview process where you have to weed out the bad seeds through a series of meetings. Finally, you pick an applicant and cross your fingers that you’ve made the right choice.


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Searching for an ideal candidate takes a lot of time and energy, and unfortunately you can’t always pick the perfect person for the job. There are times where you’ll find that you’ve hired a dud. This is why most companies have probationary periods included in their employment contracts, stating that after three months if the person is not performing well, they will be let go. Here are some signs that may indicate that you've hired the wrong person. 

1. They negotiate a little too much
From the moment you make an offer, they want to negotiate, and not just about the salary. They want to know whether they can slightly alter their working hours to better suit them and their schedule, they want a better parking space, or they want to work from home occasionally. What you’re offering just isn’t enough for them, which is a clear indication that nothing will ever make this employee happy. They’ll constantly be wanting more.  

2. They’re cocky from the very start
From day one they strut in with their head held a little too high. There’s confidence and then there’s cockiness, and cockiness does not do well in the working environment. They talk about themselves non-stop and they clearly think they’re the best thing to happen to the industry in decades. This employee is nothing but a headache because they’ll believe that they’re always right, no matter the evidence to the contrary. These types of people can be incredibly difficult to deal with and can cause a lot of tension in the workplace, not just with you, but also with their fellow colleagues.

3. They show up late
Whether it’s five minutes or half an hour, no new employee should be late on their first day. Unless they’re almost in tears while apologising, this should not be forgiven. They’re new and they should be early, if anything. This sets the tone for their career with your company and probably means they don’t take your structure seriously. If they're not taking your schedule seriously and not respecting your time from the very beginning - this should be a clear warning sign. They’ll probably be late for client meetings, start working an hour after everyone else has already sent ten emails and never apologise for missing a deadline.  

4. They complain on the first day
Your employees do complain. They talk to each other, they make comments about clients and, perhaps, they even have a few things to say about you. It’s only natural for people to complain about work, especially when they’re stressed. It doesn’t mean they don’t respect you and love their jobs. However, a new employee hasn’t earned the right to complain just yet. They should be extremely happy to have joined your company and should not have a negative word to say. On the first day, they should just be grateful that you hired them and gave them an opportunity. 

5. They don’t bother to introduce themselves
It’s important that your new hire wants to get to know their colleagues. If they simply sit down at their desk and start to work, you have problems. If they need to work closely with their team, this can become a big issue. It means they clearly don’t want to know the people they’re going to be spending the majority of their time with. They don’t have to be an extrovert to walk around and greet people. It’s just common courtesy.   

6. They’re on social media before 12pm on day one
Even checking their phone is a warning sign. They shouldn’t be interested in anything other than getting to know their colleagues and understanding how things work. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter can all wait until their first day is over. This is a sure sign that this is going to be a problem employee. They clearly don’t care about what you think of them and have a social media addiction that will inevitably affect their work.

7. They’re openly negative about their old company
It’s okay to speak badly of your old company but only once you’ve formed relationships with your colleagues. If they start saying negative things about their previous employer on day one, it shows disrespect. It means they’re unprofessional and don’t see anything wrong with badmouthing the people responsible for their paycheck. In two or three months, they may be saying these things about you and giving your business a bad reputation.

At the end of the day, you want an employee that respects you and your business. Someone that wants to get to know their colleagues and who will always be a team player. Someone who isn’t easily distracted by life outside of work. And, most importantly, someone who is extremely thankful for the job you’ve just given them. This is why it's important to notice the red flags from the very beginning, otherwise you may have a problem employee on your hands.

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Employer having a meeting with an underperforming employee

The hiring process is a complicated one. And for good reason. You obviously want the best employees so that your business can succeed. This is why you check potential candidates’ references, take a thorough look at their CVs and interview them more than once. You want to be sure that you’re choosing the best person for the job and not just someone who can quickly fill a role. 

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