Helping with the Hiring Pain

By Thad Plumley

A sting in the pit of your stomach often appears when you find out a staff member is leaving your company.

There are occasions when someone moving on is good for the firm and the employee, a necessary parting but one on good terms. Most times, though, the news hits you with that feeling in the gut like you made one too many trips to the family reunion’s dessert table.

You know with certainty the job board just got a whole lot more demanding. It was already long, customers were already antsy, and now you have to try to work your way through it, down an employee.

Oh, and you’ll have to go through the interview process again. That’s the part that may actually cause the most heartburn.

Casinos have nothing on the interview process. It truly is a gamble posting a job, talking to candidates on the phone, interviewing them in person, putting them through task-related tests, and having the finalists meet potential colleagues.

And that’s just to get you to the part where you make an offer. That can be followed by negotiations involving salary and benefits.

So many steps—and each a walk on a tightrope filled with opportunities for something to go horribly wrong.

Hiring is not a timed test, and it’s critical you get it right.

But don’t fall into a temptation to shortcut any step. Hiring is not a timed test, and it’s critical you get it right. It is often the difference between seeing your company soar past revenue goals or having your firm scuffle through tough times.

I know a manager who hired an employee earlier this year, two months later than she wanted. Those were two hard months—months filled with long work weeks, weekend hours in the office, and a building of not-so-happy employees.

But the wait was worth it. The right hire eventually emerged and those tough times earlier in the year became a distant memory.

One of the reasons the process ran long was caused by a meeting of a leading candidate at the time and some members of the staff. The current crew, while eager to have someone come in and help with the heavy workload, was honest in their assessment when they reported back to the manager.

The candidate did not make a good first impression, causing concerns about how they would fit in. With the entire staff consisting of just seven people, the boss took the message to heart and moved on and kept interviewing people.

It wasn’t an easy decision, and added weeks to the hiring process. But when the right person eventually emerged and said yes, it tasted oh so sweet.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at and on Twitter @WaterWellJournl.