You've heard the phrase before. "Hire slow, fire fast" has been a theory of business debate for years. While some say it's total BS, others are advocates for the HR best practices it puts into place for their company.

Over the last few years, I've made many hires to expand my team. Some were made extraordinarly fast, while others were, at times, too slow for my liking. Who has made the cut over the course of our business growth? At my agency, the tortoise beats the hare.

Even if you desperately need someone LAST MONTH to fill a position that your company depends on, and trust me, I've been in the situation many times...you still need to slow your roll when it comes to bringing on new employees. Here's why.

  • Some résumés look better as résumés only. When candidates can't speak to their experience, you've got a big red flag on your hands. It's true, some people are magicians when it comes to beefing up their CV, so if you don't take the time to properly comb through a sea of potential hires in first round interviews instead of hiring based off of a piece of paper alone, you're bound to end up with someone on your staff who claimed 10 years of experience in management when realistically it was more like 2 or 3.                                                                                                                          The key point here - take the time to conduct proper, well-thought out interviews. Ask questions that your candidates won't expect. Read through samples of their work. Have honest conversations with their references. Get to know the person you're hiring, not just the projects they've completed and positions they've held notated on their work experience.
  • Get multiple opinions. Chances are this potential employee is going to have to work with specific members of your team and/or clients on a daily or weekly basis. Make sure trusted members of your current staff think they can handle it, and that they'd want to work together. Everyone has different points of view. Take advantage of what you have in your wheelhouse.
  • See how they do on your home turf. I always alert my team when a potential hire is coming in for an interview, as their perspectives are valuable to me. How does the person act when they're sitting out in the waiting area? Does he/she engage with my team? Is the candidate friendly? Or does he/she just stare at his/her phone the whole time waiting to be brought back to my office? Ask your employees for their first opinions. What they see may be different from the individual you meet with one on one.
  • Test their patience levels. When you take the time to hire slow, the process can be arduous for both you and your slate of candidates. However, by slowing things down, you can see which candidates stay right alongside you the whole time, showing their dedication and desire for the job you have available. If they suddenly disappear during the interview process (yes, it's happened), you just weeded out a candidate who might not have been the best fit. If they stick it out, and send proper follow ups - you have a winner.
  • There's a light at the end of the tunnel. If you've properly vetted your candidates and your hire accepts your offer, chances are, things are more likely to go your way in the long run in having a longterm fit. Now, there are always reasons things don't work out, but setting expectations, defining objectives and being transparent on the role this new person will fill throughout the hiring process is much more likely to work out in your favor than hiring someone within a week because they looked good on paper.

So what does one do during the slow hire process to take on the needed responsibilities of keeping the business running? Utilize your team! Be transparent. Explain the situation and your team should rise to the occasion. Offer incentives, if possible. If your team is able to help with with X and Y before the new hire is onboarded, reward them in a way that makes sense for your business, whether that's a few extra vacation days, a bonus, or a gift they've been eyeing. It's okay to ask for help and to put certain tasks on the back burner when you're in a pinch, because taking the time to find the right person to help grow your business is 100% worth it!

Published on: Feb 27, 2018