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Hire, Fire, and Rehire or Hire Better?

Nov 24, 2022 | Recruiting, Small Businesses

Hire, Fire, and Rehire or Hire Better?

Terminations are inevitable in every business, and so often we see employers being villainized. If you are an employer or an HR professional, do you see yourself as the villain for firing people?

We all know that firing someone isn’t easy, even if they are the weakest performer. After all, you are going to break the news to a person, not a wall clock. This person might have wished you a Good Morning every single day for the past two years, may have been loved by everyone in your company, and probably been a ‘very nice person’ to talk to. 

But what was they hired for in the first place?

hire better

In the end, it all comes down to performance. There’s no need to hold on to a weak performer just because they are nice. If you don’t see improvement after training and corrective actions, you’ll have to let them go for the best benefit of the business, because your business needs to provide for the rest of your workforce. 

If you are in doubt, ask yourself these three important questions:

  • Is the employee performing well?
  • Are they the right fit for the role?
  • Did they improve with additional training and coaching?

If your answer to all these questions was “NO,” proceed with termination. Make sure you part ways with the employee on good terms with the help of an exit interview and a solid termination letter. 

Would you like to know more about the termination responsibilities you have as an employer? Here’s an article with a few case studies. 

What’s next? It’s time to rehire and refill the position. What if your new hire is yet another weak candidate? The time, money, and hours of training you spend on this employee will go to waste, putting you back in the “hire, fire, and rehire loop.”

So, the obvious solution is to fire less and hire better. Now, we all know that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. But it’s better than being branded as a “hire & fire employer.”  


A 7-Step Pocket Guide to Hiring Better

Before we dive into these key steps to hire better, there are a few questions you will need answers for: 

  • How did you end up hiring a weak performer?
  • Did the employee lie to you about their skills?
  • Did you ask the right questions during the interview?
  • Did you clearly define roles and responsibilities in the job description?
  • How did you arrive at the conclusion that the employee wasn’t the right fit, and how long did it take you to realize it?

Self-realization is the best realization, they say, and that’s why finding answers to these questions is so important, so you don’t repeat these mistakes.

So here is how you hire better: 

STEP 1: Hone those hiring skills!

If you are the one who is responsible for hiring at your workplace, make sure you have (or are working on developing) these essential qualities every modern recruiter should have:

  • Excellent communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Listening skills
  • Networking skills
  • Data-driven mentality
  • Tech savvy
  • Critical thinking and decision-making skills
  • Aptitude for learning

Take a hard look at yourself, and if you think you are not able to do well as a recruiter, then spend time honing those skills. If you are in a key position and your plate is full, and recruiting is not really your area of expertise, then have someone else handle recruiting or outsource the task to a recruiting agency. Recruiting is undoubtedly the most important and toughest HR function and a key deciding factor in a company’s success. 

STEP 2: Employer Brand Positioning

Due to the pressures of client and customer engagement, businesses frequently overlook their own branding as a key aspect of their operations. That being said, candidates and employees make up sizable portion of a target audience, and they definitely require a different brand strategy than customers. 
To positively position your company in the eyes of your current and potential employees, you must position yourself as an employer brand of choice.

The first question in employer brand positioning should always be, “Why are you a good company to work with?” For this, you need to know how you stand out as an employer and if your employees like working for you. You must have a clear vision for what you want your brand to look like and how to make it matter to your ideal candidate.

With effective employer branding, you can improve the quality of the applications you receive for your open positions.

So, how can you get a good employer brand image?

Do you know what a candidate will generally do once they see your job ad? Before they even apply, they’ll look you up online. They’ll go through your online reviews, website, and social media to get an idea of how the working experience would be.

If your company’s messaging isn’t consistent with what its employees are saying, it won’t matter what it says on its website or in other forms of communication. 
The majority of your branding is ultimately done by your employees.

Make sure that your company’s culture and work environment are supportive, encouraging, and healthy. This will motivate your employees to share their positive experiences on social media and search engines as testimonials, reviews, or even happy workplace selfies.

STEP 3: Build/Review your Hiring Strategy 

You need a plan for everything, especially complicated tasks like recruiting. You need to do a lot of research and spend your time preparing a solid recruiting plan and reviewing your current recruiting strategy.

Creating an efficient hiring strategy includes the following considerations:

  • What your long-term goals are
  • How you currently recruit
  • Current challenges, including turnover, skill development and training
  • Your hiring needs for the next 6 or 12 months
  • Your budget – including salary, advertising costs
  • Key positions to fill
  • Career growth plan

STEP 4: Understanding the Position

It’s natural to feel the urge to fill a position as early as possible, but doing so might cause you trouble later. Since your main goal is to hire the RIGHT candidate, you need to spend time understanding the position and what impact it could have on your day-to-day operations in terms of ROI.

If you’re entirely unaware of the position, ask other leaders with experience in that role for help. The more information you have about the role, the better. Leverage the internet to see the value of the position, current market compensation, key skills the position requires, etc. Also, have an understanding of how important and impactful the position is and if a remote/hybrid role will suffice. Researching the position will also help you to draft a stellar job description.

If possible, create a candidate persona defining the key competencies, skills, and traits that make up your A-Player candidate.

STEP 5: Job Posting & Advertising

Now that you have understood the position and have a candidate persona in mind, the next step should be a lot easier than it normally is: mastering those job postings and job descriptions.

When you are fishing in a highly competitive talent pool, you need to stand out to attract top talent. So how do you do that?

Here’s the anatomy of a perfect job description:

  • Clear and Accurate Job Title
    Avoid vague job titles like “Social Media Ninja” or “Content Guru.”
  • Job Type
    Mention if the job is permanent or contractual, full-time or part time, remote, hybrid, or in-office.
  • Job Location
    Geography is one of the important criteria a candidate would look for. If you can, explain a little about the place where you are located. Why is it a good city or town to move to, or how it’s an affordable, family-friendly place with a lot of attractions, etc.
  • Compensation
    Many employers refrain from disclosing the salary in their job descriptions and postings. But the fact is that compensation interests a candidate more than any other detail in the job description. You should include the salary range.
  • Benefits
    If you can give them one more good reason to join you, then why not!
  • Position Summary
    Define the role, what the primary job responsibility is, and who they would report to. 
  • Roles & Responsibilities
    Here’s where you set expectations with your candidates about the work they are expected to do. Remember to keep it short and simple. A long list of responsibilities might not look good in the eyes of the candidate.
  • Qualifications
    List out the must-haves only, such as experience, education, technical skills, soft skills, and other necessary skills.
  • About Your Company
    Introduce your business briefly and focus on the exciting stuff, like the awards you have won, your years in business, or an exciting project you are working on.
  • Why Join?
    Mention everything your employees love about working for you. The company culture, paid time off, benefits, career advancement programs, training, free lunch, bring your pet to work day, pyjama day, and everything nice that would make you an employer of choice.
  • How to Apply?
    Make it as easy as possible for the candidate to apply for the job. Simply ask them to forward their resume to your email or have a landing page created for the website. Remember to mention the last date to apply for the job.

Where to Promote?

Promote the job on your website, newsletters, social media pages, job sites, and most importantly, within your internal workplace communication channels, along with a referral bonus. Employee referral is one of the most productive and effective modern recruitment tactics. Along with the usual job sites you post on, include other sites too to diversify your candidate pool.

Make sure you get back to each applicant on time and schedule interviews. Have your email scripts for each round ready before you start promoting your jobs. 

Too much work? Talk to one of our executive recruiters to help you with your job posting and description.

STEP 6: Prepare for the Interview

Employers need to prepare for the job interview too. Here’s what you need to do before the interview.

  • Decide on your Interview Process
    Decide how many interview rounds you would need to assess the candidates, what these rounds would look like, what abilities you are testing in each of them, and who is going to handle these rounds. Ensure you include tests and questions in these rounds that cater to your business and the role. Also, try not to add too many rounds. You don’t need five or six rounds to decide if a candidate is the right fit or not.

    You can include a few of the following tests depending on your industry and the job vacancy (but always make certain that the test directly relates to the bonafide occupational requirements for the role; otherwise, you may be discriminating against worthy candidates):

    • Intelligence Test: To assess the intelligence quotient (IQ), verbal reasoning, problem solving, and communication skills
    • Personality Test: To assess the emotional quotient (EQ), ability to work under pressure, responsibility, and team building skills
    • Aptitude Test: To assess how a candidate is likely to perform in an area in which they have no prior training or knowledge 
    • Psychomotor Test: If the job requires physical strength, this test will help you assess the physical ability of the candidate
    • Job Knowledge Test: To assess if the candidate knows and understands the job well and will successfully perform the responsibilities assigned
    • Interest Test: To check if the candidate is really interested in the job 
    • Integrity Test: To assess honesty, trustworthiness, and reliability
  • Preparing Interview Questions
    Along with your usual “tell me about yourself,” include behavioral interview questions and situational or scenario-based questions to better assess a candidate. Ask questions like:
    How would you ensure that we achieve $8 million in revenue the next quarter?
    We have a problem that needs to be fixed in 3 days, what would be your plan of action?You are familiar with the challenges you face, and you are hiring right now to fix them. It would be a lot easier to frame questions if you think this way.
  • Have a Scorecard in Place
    This would help you rank each candidate based on a specific set of parameters and finally shortlist your Top Five. This also helps to eliminate bias.

STEP 7: Selection Process

Now that you have everything you need to hire your A-player, it’s time to jump right into the pile of resumes in your inbox. 

  • Application Review
    The idea of this long and meticulous process is to choose a group of qualified individuals from all the applicants – those who are most likely to be successful in the job role. This step involves a review of each resume and narrowing it down to the most qualified candidates based on skills, experience, etc. Keep in mind that one of your objectives is to avoid choosing the wrong candidate, and the process of not doing that starts here. Eliminate candidates with inadequate experience and education.
  • First Level Interview
    After the ‘paper-screening’ many employers are still left with many options. Have a quick 15-to-20-minute conversation to assess each candidate better and discuss job expectations. You can also get a ‘first-impression’ of the candidate. A good recruiter can easily tell if a candidate is an active or passive job seeker from this conversation. You can easily cut down to 10 candidates from this and shortlist your top 5 best fits.
  • Interviews with the Top Five
    Once you filter out the ‘hot candidates’ (preferably the top 5 if it’s a single vacancy position), conduct specific interview rounds to test the cognitive skills, problem solving skills, and job skills. You need to determine if the candidate has the ability to perform the job successfully and has the right mindset and attitude to be part of your work culture. Have in depth conversations with each candidate to understand their attitude toward the job, and future plans. Do a reference check to learn about each candidate’s employment history. You can learn a lot about the employee from the references they have provided. Do not forget to use your HR scorecard and have additional notes on each candidate.
  • Selecting The One; Numero Uno

    What to do next? Take the following into consideration: This is where you select your A-player. Why an A-player? Top companies hire only top candidates, and that’s why you need to stop hiring C-players or B-players and start hiring only A-players. A-players have the right skill set and the best mindset to thrive under pressure. A-players prefer working with other A-players and are not afraid to have others surpass them; instead, they keep each other motivated, challenged, and engaged. How do you get down to that one candidate from the list of five great contenders?It’s all about finding who is the best among the rest. Most of the time, it’ll be obvious who the best fit is, especially when you have the HR scorecard and interview results to help you decide. But there are these rare occasions where you have to choose between two seemingly equal candidates.

    What to do then? Take the following into consideration:

    • Recall what your exact requirements are for that position and see who fits them best.
    • Take into consideration the immediate and long-term business goals and demands of the role. 
    • Determine who will fit into your workplace culture.
    • Take a look at your recruiting plan, your scorecard, and your notes once again. Assess who seems more committed and passionate about the job. 
    • Have a panel discussion among your key partners and senior employees and take their votes. 
    • Take a look at the work samples and past achievements of the candidates and see if they have A-player qualities, are they honest, reliable, and can they scale you up?
    • Trust your instincts and hire one. The silver lining is that you have the two best candidates, and you are likely to end up with an outstanding candidate anyway.
  • Sharing Feedback

    Nobody likes rejection, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it when you share feedback with rejected candidates. You can only make the pill a little easier to swallow by sharing genuine feedback on what went well and what did not. It is not just professional courtesy but also part of providing a good candidate experience. The feedback will help the candidate identify the areas in which they need to improve. Building positive relationships with all candidates, even those you reject, is a good employer branding and PR activity.

Struggling with those hard-to-fill positions? Get a free consultation with our Recruiting Expert!


Can and Should Small Businesses Hire A-players?

Absolutely! Let all your key roles be filled with A-players, including managers and supervisors. They can identify A/B players and hire them and help them to level up. In an ideal scenario, you will

  • Have A-players in the driver’s seat of each aspect of your business.
  • Have all your departments working with maximum efficiency.
  • Put your business in hyper-growth mode.
  • Have 10x the sales, if done right.
  • Assemble a dream team that can hit it out of the park from DAY ONE.
  • Achieve your business goals faster than planned.
  • Have a systematic, continuous, successful recruiting process that drives ROI.


You’ve got it all wrong again! WHAT NOW?

Don’t panic; we all make mistakes! Getting that 10/10 candidate is a long shot, and if things go south, what can you do? You can always upskill and train your new hires and weak performers. Is it worth training your current employees and transforming them into top-level employees?

Of course, it is. An investment in your employees’ skill sets is an investment in your company and supports the fact that better employees make the company better. However, do not spend time, resources, and training costs on your C-players. Let go of them and instead invest more in your B-players.

Recruiting top candidates can be a hard nut to crack for small businesses. HR Covered has been helping 1000+ Canadian HR businesses with their critical HR functions, especially finding A-players. If your small business is struggling with poor candidates and hard-to-fill positions, book an appointment here for a free consultation.

Also read: High ROI Recruiting – Hiring A Players for business growth – HR Covered