The Cost of a Decent Hire

Are you the type of person who reads the instruction manual all the way through, and then assembles the things step-by-step according to the instructions?

Or are you the type of person who sees the picture on the box and goes to work making the contents look like the picture without even opening the instruction manual?

Those are the extremes of course, but how you approach one model or system is how you approach all models and systems.

I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of woman. I like to skim the instructions, make sure I have all the pieces, and then follow the instructions. I might go several steps without looking at the instructions because I have a pretty good idea of what logically comes next. And sometimes that burns me when I put a piece on backwards. But I don’t usually get too far without confirming what I did with the instructions.

People approach the model for hiring in much the same way. If you’ve been to Keller Williams Career Visioning, you’re given a step-by-instruction manual for hiring. It’s easy to ignore certain steps or even to think it’s not a big deal that the person you’re about to hire is a mis-match in a couple of low-influence areas.

You’ve probably heard several warnings about the cost of a bad hire. It’s easy to see that someone with a negative attitude can ruin the culture of a team, or cost the team sales.

But can we talk for a minute about the cost of a mediocre hire?

The mediocre hire is usually someone who’s friendly, a team player, and does a pretty good job in sales.

The problem with a mediocre hire comes when they become dissatisfied with something about the job. It may be they aren’t closing enough sales to pay their bills. Or they aren’t skilled enough to control their schedule so they spend time with clients when they would rather be spending time with family.

Working with a teammate who is unhappy with any aspect of the job is like a weight on the rest of the team. This invisible weight is barely perceptible at first. But over time, it grows.

How rapidly this weight grows depends on the attitude of the unhappy person. Some people are really good at masking their dissatisfaction. Others, not so much. It could be just a few months before you realize the effect this unhappy person is having on the team, or it could be years.

In hiring, Keller Williams also teaches you to be monitoring a new hire for the first 90 days. This probationary period is designed to let you see how the new hire works and truly determine if he or she is a fit for team. If there is any doubt, let them go.

Our team made the mistake of hiring two agents who became dissatisfied with the job. It’s not their fault they became dissatisfied. It’s our fault. We hired them, knowing they weren’t a really good match. So it’s no wonder things worked out the way they did.

We truly enjoyed having these two agents on the team. At first, they were friendly, and contributed, and worked hard. Until they started to feel the pressure and the discomfort of the mis-match for their roles. Then, that weight I was talking about crept in.

These two agents left the team within 45 days of each other taking us from a team of six to a team of four. The four of us that are left immediately felt more connected to each other, more committed to each other than ever, and more determined to make the team a huge success.

So here’s my take-away on this whole thing. I understand the need to speed up the hiring process. When hiring agents, they are often impatient and a month-long hiring process turns them off which means you are risking losing someone talented. But if you’re going to skip steps or ignore mis-matches in the hiring process, you must be committed to letting that person go in the first 90 days if it becomes evident they are not a great hire.

It is cruel to let a person think they can succeed on your team because you’re going to provide them with coaching and systems to support them. In truth, you’re creating a lose-lose situation by letting them continue in their role simply because they seem to be doing ok. The stuff they are doing OK is fine, but they are ruining the things they are not OK at.

I want you to know too that a mediocre hire affects the rest of the team negatively. The rest of the team becomes dissatisfied too. They start to think about how they can minimize their time with the mediocre hire. They start to think about working from home more often. They start to think about quitting this team and finding a new job.

All because the team hired someone who seemed to be decent for the role.

If you’re not the person in charge of hiring for your team, please share this post the person who is. The decent hire will quit. But in the meantime, the team may lose a great hire or two as well.


1 Comment

  1. Kelsie Toole

    Thank you for being so transparent in your posts. This will hit home with many people in many industries. Great Post, thank you for sharing. I hope you are saving many from learning a lesson the hard way.


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