Based on my unscientific observations, most managers struggle with hiring employees and a majority seem to have no proclivity for firing. If I could fix one thing for my clients, it would probably be to instill in them the confidence to trust their instincts and overcome their fears when it comes to who they hire or keep.
A while back I saw one of those USA Today mini polls and it asked how long managers took to make up their mind after interviewing a job candidate. I chuckled because I thought “Do people really wait until after the interview to decide?” There was probably a time in my career where I believed that each person deserved a thoughtful process and that quick decisions were somehow unfair. But being a busy manager I learned to trust my instincts and let myself quickly make up my mind – often as I watched the candidate walk from their car to the office door. Yes, no, or maybe.
Yes’s still had a chance to become No’s or Maybe’s. Yes usually meant they passed the gut feeling test on appearance, demeanor, trustworthiness, or potential. Yes means ‘yes so far.’
Maybe means they haven’t hit any No qualities yet, but had not passed the gut feeling test, yet.
No, means ‘no way’. Rarely have I let a candidate pull me back from an initial No opinion. And when it did happen, I was wrong half or more of the time. I think my decision-making skills dramatically improved when I stuck to my first impressions.
Not all candidates are transparent enough to draw a fast decision. Sometimes I needed the point of view of a second quick-decider. If the two of us were Maybe, then the candidate was probably a ‘no’. Skills also come into play, but only after the Yes kicks in. What skill could possibly make me hire a No?
As a manager, I may have seemed arbitrary – but I certainly tried to hide it and always let folks complete the interview. I would also give the candidate feedback if they asked for it. “I saw you put out a cigarette on the ground in our parking lot; that does not make a good impression.” or “You are interviewing for a Sales job and you didn’t even look at our website.” And I am well-known for giving career advice to folks who ask and will listen. Many of these candidates still keep in touch with me.
For folks who are interviewing, take note. If you get along with a lot of people or a majority of the people you meet, then you have a good chance to avoid the No. Interviews are personal and rejection is also, but the longer you can avoid the No, the better chance you have to make it past the first interview and earn the chance to win the job on your skills and talents.
When it comes to firing someone, the one question I ask myself is, “Would I hire them again knowing what I know now?” Yes or No. Make the decision.