To Hire or Not to Hire?

Hiring is scary business.

To hire or not to hire?

That’s a tough question for many small business owners who need to hire the right people for their business. You may have received some training and researched proper interviewing techniques. You know which questions you can legally ask candidates in an interview and you’ve learned to craft Insightful Interview™ questions. Now it’s time to put all that knowledge into practice. That’s when the butterflies start and fear grips you. This is uncharted territory and it’s hard!

I recently worked with a small business owner who had to decide whether to let go of a candidate before he even started. The candidate seemed fine in the interview, answered the questions well and gave no signs that he would be one of “those” employees. After receiving an offer, the candidate turned into a monster. The headaches started and he hadn’t even filled out the new hire paperwork yet! My client knew that this candidate would become a problem employee and yet she still hesitated about cutting him loose and moving on to other candidates.

Why? Because she was more afraid of leaving the position open than she was of hiring the wrong person. That kind of fear happens much too often. Instead of waiting for the right candidate, hiring managers take the first available or the best of the average or subpar candidates who apply.

To help you hire the right person with the right skills for the job, here are five tips to help you calmly and confidently navigate the hiring process.

  1. Ask Insightful Interview™ questions that reveal the truth about your candidates.

The way a candidate performed in a past situation will provide insights into their thinking and feelings about the situation. Not only do you want to know about their behavior, but you also need to know what prompted the behavior. That’s where digging deeper to identify thoughts and feelings gives you that added dimension to see the whole person. Your goal is to make sure the candidate will fit the culture of the company and that their needs are aligned with the company’s. Remember: You cannot train for personality or fit so don’t put yourself or the candidate through that pain.

  1. Provide a realistic picture of the job and your company.

Resist the temptation to omit or gloss over the less attractive parts of the job. Be honest and straightforward. When you encounter a red flag, ask more Insightful Interview™ questions and dig deeper until you clear the flag and move to the next step, or validate the flag and end the process.

  1. Assess the candidate’s behavior throughout the hiring process.

If the candidate is consuming your time before he or she even becomes an employee, ask yourself what leads you to believe the behavior will be different once the employee is hired. If you can’t definitively say that nervousness or another temporary factor caused the behavior, release the candidate and keep searching until you find someone who is a better fit.

  1. Negotiating the terms of an offer is acceptable.

It’s okay for a candidate to negotiate terms of employment. However, when you find that the candidate’s objectives do not match the company’s, it’s time to have a frank conversation about whether this job is the right fit for the candidate. It’s hard for a new manager to know when the negotiations cross over from being productive to being an indication of future unwanted behavior. When the candidate continues to push for things after you’ve clarified expectations, given a realistic preview of the job and what it is like to work for your company, and indicated areas that are non-negotiable, it’s time to let them go. It’s just not fair to them, you, or the company to try to make it work. Don’t put everyone through the pain.

  1. Resist choosing the “best” from the available pool.

It’s better to be understaffed than to have a bad employee who will affect the performance and morale of the rest of your team. This can lead to future problems with team morale, productivity, turnover, training costs, and retention of good performers. Do everyone a favor and keep searching until you find the right fit.

In The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, I take readers through the steps of understanding how to recruit and hire the best, most talented people. By the end of The YOLO Principle, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to hire the right people and enjoy reduced stress, increased productivity, bigger profits, and a good night’s sleep.

I challenge you to free yourself of the pain of bad hiring decisions and costly employee turnover. If you need some help, schedule a free insight session todaycall mesend an email, or text RECRUITER to 44222.


Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is The Small Business Hiring Expert and works with small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to end their struggle to hire the right people. She is the author of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, and a co-author of Rethinking Human Resources. She can be reached at 843-779-YOLO (9656) or