Hire Slow — Fire Fast (Part Deux)

In my last blog, we talked about the “Hire Slow” process. In this edition, let’s discuss the “Fire Fast” process, which is equally important and for many, even harder.

To recap, you created a process which included a job description and formatted questions allowing for an “apples to apples” comparison (also known as data). You focused on matching candidates to the job vs. finding a way to hire a certain person.

Your search revealed the perfect candidate and you’re both happy forevermore…NO??!!

Everyone brings their A-game to the interview but bringing on the best possible candidate is just the beginning. Prior to their start date you will need to plan what their on-boarding process will be. Do you have a formal training program? Will they be shadowing you or other teams members?

Here’s how we’ve done it:

  • Prior to bringing someone on, we “stack up” non-urgent tasks that can be used with a new hire as “fill-in” work. We’ve found this very helpful for our small team, since it gives us the flexibility to respond to changing priorities while keeping the new hire engaged.


  • We always assign a mentor to the new hire. This will be someone at their level, perhaps the person who used to have the job they were hired for.


  • We ask that mentor to create a timeline of what the first week will look like and during that week they will shadow several teams members to get a better sense of the overall operations.



  • We schedule all time on team calendars with agendas to make the best use of everyone’s time.


  • Day one is typically a paperwork, orientation day. We have a new hire portal where they can grab all their paperwork and some onboarding best practices. If they will be working on specific accounts, we give them access to that client’s portal so they can review protocols. Wait, you don’t have written protocol? There’s a great task/goal for your new hire.


  • Shift to the next important element of successful new hires: what are your goals for this new hire? When you sit down with them in 30, 60, 90 days how will you define success? Success is often more difficult to define than failure…define both. In addition to candidates bringing their A game to an interview, there is also a “honeymoon” period with new employees. We have a 90 days probationary period and we try to push the limits during that time frame to move past that honeymoon period.


  • My best advice … communicate, communicate, communicate. Do not rely on just written communications. What is completely clear to you, may not be to someone else. Make sure you are both on the same page, that takes verbal communication (if they are remote be sure to video call, body language is a huge form of communication).

In my opinion, you will know within 90 days if this person is a good fit or not. Your communication with them is around “what the job requires” not “you didn’t do this or that.” If you decide they are not a fit for the job, simply tell them that. You will have had check-in meetings at 30, 60, and 90 days (every lawyer & HR person will tell you to record notes). You will have already defined what success or failure looks like. If you are really not sure, extend by 30 days, but tell them why. “We have not yet been able to determine if this is a good fit for both of us … we will be extending your probationary period by 30 days.”

Taking on staff is an important decision, and one you should think through fully before taking the plunge. Think you might need some additional insight? We can help you decide whether you are ready for your next hire. Join us for the free webinar, “Are you ready for your next or first hire?” on Tuesday, March 20th and become part of the conversation!

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