No one plans to be part of a hiring horror story. Just in time for Halloween, John Allen, President of G&A Partners, shares a few timeless tales and tips to remedy these hiring horror classics. Read on for the full article and visit the Houston Business Journal to share your commentary.
Hiring Horror Stories
We have all experienced it. Like watching an unsuspecting teenager in a formulaic horror movie, some part of you may have sensed danger and screamed “don’t go there.” More likely, however, you were shocked to the very core, because no one plans to be part of a hiring horror story. In fact, it is planning during the hiring process that can prevent workplace horror stories before they occur.
Just in time for Halloween, G&A Partners, a Houston-based HR and administrative services company, shares a few timeless tales as well as some tips for how to prevent or remedy these horror classics.
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (a.k.a. the Unqualified Relative) – There were more qualified job candidates, but the fact that she was the boss’ daughter-in-law gave her a distinct edge. Now that she’s in the position, it’s clear to everyone she is not suited for the job. If only you could have demonstrated that obvious fact to your boss before you were pressured to hire her.
The Potion – A well-defined job description is the perfect preventative potion for this monster dilemma. Before ever posting a position, carefully compile a job description that details the required skills and job experience you expect in the candidate you select.
THE DRACULA DRAIN (a.k.a. the Employee Who is Sucking You Dry) – You hired the new guy because you saw his potential to one day be the lifeblood of your organization, but it is always darkest before the dawn, and today this new employee is sucking up so much of your time and energy that you’re left feeling lifeless and drained.
The Potion – Take a cue from the movies and arm yourself with the proper tools to take on this vampire. Skip the garlic and silver cross – instead offer training to get the new guy up-to-speed on your company’s systems and processes more quickly. If your company isn’t large enough to sustain an ongoing training program, consider online training. While this more generic option may not teach him everything he needs to know about your company or his specific job, it may help quench his desire and keep him from sucking you dry.
THE WORKING WEREWOLF (a.k.a. the Post-Hire Metamorphosis)– The first time your newly hired employee showed up looking downright beastly, you gave her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this night crawler couldn’t wake in time to dry her hair or press her shirt. Over time, however, it became apparent that she has lost any regard for the power of “dressing for success.”
The Potion – Facing this problem can be a nightmare, but a company dress code is one surefire way to soothe the savage beast. As this monster’s supervisor, you can point to the dress code as the model for what is and is not acceptable.
THE SKINNY SKELETON (a.k.a. Great Bones, but No Muscle) – After seeing so many zombies, you were so wowed by this employee’s resume that the interview became merely a formality. Despite having all the right credentials on paper though, after being hired it became apparent that this lightweight lacked the muscle to do the job.
The Potion – Before you begin to interview applicants, bone up on your techniques. Asking appropriate and probing questions will help ensure you learn what you need to know about the candidates to avoid making a horrific mistake.
DEMON OF DARKNESS (a.k.a. the Black Cloud) – He seemed pleasant enough in the interview, but after a few months on the job this guy turned ghoulish. Now, his continuous complaining is spreading a cloud of negativity throughout the workplace. You’re afraid this monster may be trying to recruit a legion of doomsayers.
The Potion – Employees need an outlet to express their concerns, and complaints should be taken seriously and addressed if valid. However, as a manager, you can’t let one cynic spread doom and gloom. To fight this demon, stress the importance of a positive and harmonious work environment and point out how negativity can hinder performance.
WICKED WITCH OF THE WORKPLACE (Need we say more?) – Your new employee is a real dynamo, but her ambition to succeed is making her less than friendly to her coworkers. She flies off the handle far too often, and now no one wants to work with her.
The Potion – Face this witch head on. Remind her that, in addition to having strong job- specific skills, the company expects her to treat her coworkers with dignity and respect.
THE GHOST (a.k.a. the Disappearing Employee) – While your newest employee is a positive spirit much of the time, too often he is invisible – taking time off, calling in sick, or leaving early. Now, this ghost’s disappearing act has you spooked.
The Potion – The next time this new hire tries to disappear, refer him to your company’s leave policies. If sick leave or vacation policies are being abused, you may be justified in taking disciplinary action.
THE WARLOCK OF “WOE IS ME” (a.k.a. “It’s Not My Fault”) – The new guy worked magic during his interview, but since being hired, it is apparent he is no wiz. Mistakes and mishaps are to be expected, but instead of taking responsibility, this warlock always seems to find something or someone else to blame.
The Potion – Next time something goes wrong, thoroughly investigate the error. If it turns out that your new guy is responsible, hold him accountable.