Help! My New Hire is Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Remember a short while ago when you were beyond happy that the stellar candidate you interviewed, let’s call him Henry Jekyll, accepted your offer of employment? A month or two has passed since Henry started his employment and now, you are scratching your head wondering where the person you interview is and feeling like Edward Hyde has been reporting for duty at the office. At first you chalked it up to a slow adjustment to a new work environment, now you are realizing it is much more than that. Henry was hired, but the Edward showing up has had many attendance issues, has yet to meet one deadline and doesn’t have the skills necessary to do the job for which he was hired. You are pondering how you thought Henry was the answer to your hiring dreams, wondering how this can be avoided this in the future and hopeful there is a way to rectify the situation. Don’t be too hard on yourself, this scenario has been experienced by everyone with the responsibility of interviewing and hiring something in their career.

Carefully review all documents submitted for consideration prior to bringing someone in for an interview. Many times there can be indicators on those documents that are easily overlooked such as:

    • Gaps in employment history
    • Numerous short term jobs. (Note: In certain industries short term assignments are the norm.)
    • Majority of previous employment has been through temporary/staffing agencies.
    • Does the information on their resume match the information on a job application?
    • Does their resume mirror the job posting? (Strongly suggest the entire job description not be used for a job posting for this reason.)

Once the resume pool has been narrowed down, it is prudent to conduct phone interviews where any items from the list above can be addressed. Phone interviews help to determine if the candidate is a good fit for what the company needs, are they in the salary range you are offering, is a position a good match for their skill set or will they be bored quickly. After the phone screenings are complete and the pool narrowed to those who will have an in person interview, it will be helpful to identify another manager that can conduct the in person interviews with you. They may pick on something you did not, they may ask a great question that is not one of the usual questions you ask and at the end they will be able to provide you with their impression of the candidate. Once the final candidate has been selected and the employment offer made a background check should also be completed prior to the first day of work.

Unfortunately it is still possible, using the tips above, for Henry Jekyll to be hired and have Edward Hyde show up on the first day. If this happens it is imperative to address issues as soon as they arise. If Edward doesn’t have the skills listed on his resume/application bring this to his attention and let him know those skills were one of the reasons he was hired. If Edward is having attendance issues meet with him and let him know the expectation in this area; make sure this done for any and all areas Edward is not up to par. Edward should be given a chance to step up and if he fails to do so quickly the employment relationship should be ended. Keep in mind, the longer the period of employment the higher the duty to have documentation to support termination.

(About the Author: Michele O’Donnell joined the team in January 2007 and currently leads MMC’s elite team of HR Consultants. Ms. O’Donnell has been involved in the Human Resources industry for more than 14 years, bringing vast training and management experience to the MMC leadership ranks. Her experience spans the broad scope of labor law, regulatory compliance and HR Best Practices, drawn from her rich experience as Director of HR for several firms throughout her career. She currently works to ensure that MMC’s consultants forge long lasting relationships with our clients, fostered in exceptional service and unsurpassed HR expertise. Ms. O’Donnell earned her baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Auburn University before receiving her Masters degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State University.)

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