So You Made a Bad Finance Hire – Now What?


It happens to all of us – a bad hire. But it’s what you do in response that can minimize the damage.

If you’ve hired badly, take the following 3 steps to turn the situation around.

React Quickly
Time is of the essence here, so make sure that whatever you do you react quickly. This is not a situation that you want to fester. Step back and evaluate why your new finance hire is not working out. Is it a poor cultural fit? Are the expected technical skills not there? Usually, it’s one of these two things. By acting quickly you minimize the disruption to your team, which is critical for containing the damage of a poor hire.

Better Fit
You hired your new employee or contractor for a reason. Perhaps there’s still something there of value. In this case maybe it’s a miscasting and their skill set would be a better fit for a different role. This is the best case scenario – you transition your new hire to another job or team and they flourish.

Cut Your Losses
Sometimes, however, the person interviews well, but just doesn’t deliver and after evaluating their performance to date you realize the problem can’t be solved with a different role within the organization. At some point you then need to cut your losses and it’s better to do this sooner rather than later.

Once the new hire has been transitioned out there has to be a time of reflection. Assess where the process went wrong. If the issue was a poor cultural fit, determine why. If technical skill was lacking, ask yourself why it wasn’t discovered during the hiring process. Maybe there needs to be a better pre-screening system, or a stronger definition of the role requirements. Either way, for success to follow, you need to learn from this experience.

While bad hires have plagued all of us in our finance and accounting careers, it’s what we do about them that determines how detrimental they can be. Take action quickly. Determine if the new hire would succeed in a different role, and cut your losses if you decide they cannot. Most importantly, however, is to use this situation as an opportunity for learning and reflection and to change your hiring processes if needed.