We don’t need an article to tell you what to do. If you hired a bad fit executive you need to have them exit the business.
Doesn’t matter how long it took you to find the person. Doesn’t matter how much money you spent on a recruiter. Doesn’t matter than now you are questioning your judgment because you thought they were going to be perfect and you are obsessed with thoughts of where you went wrong.
You need to move on from any bad hire quickly, especially an executive-level one because of the negative impact it can have on your business.
It’s hard to confront the fact that you hired a key leader who turned out to be all wrong. But it happens. Everyone makes mistakes. The worst thing you can do is hold on to a bad-fit hire because you are embarrassed or put in a lot of time, energy and money to recruit them.
How do you know if you made a bad-fit hire?
Well, you probably just know. Deep down in your gut. Here are a few (but not all) of the red flags:
- They aren’t demonstrating your company values. They may even be going against your core values.
- They don’t seem to ‘get’ your culture. Needing time to adjust or adapt to your culture is fine, but if they don’t fundamentally get it, and respect it, that’s a red flag.
- Lack of self-awareness. A new executive hire that is struggling can often pull through if they have the self-awareness to know they are struggling, be transparent about it, and put in the work to try to fix it. Self-awareness is a key trait for success at any level in the organization.
- Not directionally aligned with your strategy or vision and you fundamentally disagree on critical business points.
What to do when you have a bad-fit hire?
Demand cultural compliance.”Ben Horowitz, The Hard Things about Hard Things
You have to act swiftly to remove a bad-fit hire from your organization, but you can’t act rashly. First, give direct, clear feedback and attempt to coach. Outline what needs to be achieved. Don’t brush the problem under the rug and hope it will resolve itself. Actively coach the employee, even if they are more experienced than you.
One thing that holds leaders back from doing more coaching with their executives is they think the person is more experienced than them. Don’t bite your tongue. And don’t question yourself when it comes to fundamentals like culture, values, decision making, and alignment.
Another thing that holds us back from coaching leaders in our organization is thinking, “I hired an experienced senior leader for a reason, I shouldn’t have to coach them. They should be automatically executing at a high level.” And while this is true to some degree, you still need to try to create a path to success.
But do make the determination quickly. If you don’t see swift change for the better move on quickly. Depending on the situation, you may want to give it a month or three months. But at some point, it’s time to pull the plug.
Assuming you are actively giving constructive feedback and explaining where the gaps are, this should come to no surprise to the employee.
How do you move on from a bad-fit hire?
Just do it. If you’ve tried to salvage the situation, and you are certain that this is not an executive who will perform well in your company, it’s time to just part ways. Swiftly, amicably and respectfully.