The interview process can be long and time consuming and therefore it can be a great relief once the acceptance of the chosen candidate has been received. In most cases there is then a period of anticipation leading up to their start date whilst they work their notice period at their current employer. Due to the amount of effort and expectation the recruitment cycle requires it is heart-wrenching when a chosen candidate starts showing signs of under-performing only a few weeks after their employment has commenced. But don’t instantly assume that they have pulled the wool over your eyes if they aren’t the candidate that they sold you at interview. The cause of their below par performance may be a little closer to home.
One of the biggest faux-pas an interviewer can make is overselling the company during the interview in a desperate bid to entice the best candidates to the organisation. It is important to be open and honest with candidates regarding the circumstances even if this means forgoing some of the better candidates in the process. Embellishing the truth may get the foot of a more desirable talent in the door, but as soon as they discover the truth this will affect their trust and will no doubt have an impact on their happiness and motivation.
It is important to keep an open dialogue between employee and employer once the chosen candidate to monitor that their expectations are being met and vice versa. These conversation can often be difficult especially for a new employee who doesn’t want to alienated their new employer, but their unhappiness is likely to affect their performance even if they don’t openly vocalise it. Whether the situation can be resolved will depend on the gap between what the new employee had been sold and reality, and whether it can be rectified. For instance a guaranteed quarterly bonus that doesn’t materialise isn’t likely to keep a new recruit motivated for very long.
Lack of understanding
The lack of progress from a new employee may simply be down to a lack of understanding of what they need to achieve and by went. It is therefore important that objectives are set, agreed and recorded early on in any new recruit’s employment and that they are made accountable for achieving them. Of course the adequate support must be provided in order for a new employee to succeed and the objectives need to be SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). But by providing direction, the adequate support and open communication then there shouldn’t be any misunderstanding between employee and employer regarding expectations.
Skill gaps may have been identified for each candidate during the interview process but training needs can quickly be forgotten about following the making an offer and the count-down to a new recruit starting. Ideally interview notes need to be reviewed and an adequate training schedule implemented prior to a new recruit begins. But if this isn’t the case it may be a lack of training that is the root cause of their underperformance and most be identified and rectified as quickly as possible. Training also needs to be evaluated to ensure it is adequate to fulfil the necessary requirements.
It isn’t feasible to get to know a person in-depth during the interview process. Psychometric assessments can be used to help determine whether a candidate is a good fit in terms of skills set and personality, but even if they are used it is possible for a person’s personal circumstance to change between them first accepting a position to when they first start with an organisation. It can often be difficult to speak about personal circumstances especially for a new employee, but if they are underperforming and displaying strange behaviour then they need to be reassured that they have support and encouraged to communicate, but the expectation of the business also needs to be reiterated. The process regarding what happens if circumstances don’t improve also needs to be explained and understood.
Of course they could have lied. Without the ability to use appropriate questioning techniques and the use of psychometric assessments it is more than feasible that someone could sail through an interview process armed with a less than truthful CV and a bucket load of charm. Of course their short-comings will be exposed quickly and it will easy to let them go during their probation period, but going through the interview process again will be a drain on resources, not to mention the effects of not having someone adequate in the position for a significant length of time. An Executive Search firm like Newman Stewart has the experience and tools to vet candidates thoroughly giving you the peace of mind that the shortlisted candidates will have the right skills and experience for the required position.
There are many scenarios that fall into the categories above and the answers to resolving the problem will differ depending on the circumstances. The most important part is to quickly identifying the reasons for underperformance in the first place, which is why regular and open communication is necessary from the outset.
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