Hurrying Often Results in a Bad Hire

We know that the people in your organization are the most critical factor in your success, but do you spend enough time identifying, recruiting, and retaining top-caliber people?

In my experience, most organizations do not. When a talent vacancy occurs leaving you short-staffed, you want to fill it as quickly as possible. The problem with that approach is that a bad hire is far more costly to the organization than working short-handed a little longer. Having been on both sides of this scenario, as an operator of high volume restaurants and now as a recruiter, I have seen it all!

A bad hire requires additional management time and attention, taking away from the real priorities of the business. A bad hire hurts morale because others have to pick up the slack created by someone who doesn’t contribute at the same level as their peers. A bad hire requires another separation, which results in the same opening you rushed to fill with a less-than-ideal candidate.

The true cost of that bad hire is far more expensive than living with an open position for several more weeks. So why do we rush into hiring when the result, far too often, is a new employee who doesn’t possess all the traits we’re looking for?

I remember my parents telling me before I got married that I better love that woman exactly the way she is because if I went into the marriage thinking I was going to change her, I was sadly mistaken. The same is true for your employees. Sure, we can train people, teach them new skills, and help them develop their talents. But who they are – their core beliefs and key personality traits – has been determined long before they come to work for us.

So, when you’re hiring, regardless of position, here are some of the things you should be looking for in the candidates you interview:

• People Who Take Responsibility. Look for people who have demonstrated the desire and ability to own projects—those who thrive on being responsible for the work and the outcome.
• Resourcefulness. We all know that things rarely go exactly as planned. There’s always a surprise or two on every project. Find people who are resourceful and have the ability to get the job done when they’ve been thrown a curveball.
• Positive Attitude. You want people who embrace a challenge and look at life from a positive perspective. You need people who have energy and are passionate about what they do.
• Listening Skills. Some people want to talk a lot more than they listen. Be careful of these people. A good listener is in touch with those around her because she hears what they’re saying and can learn because she’s willing and able to take in new information.
• Relationship Builders. No one can do it all alone. No one. Look for people who can build and sustain positive relationships with others. So much of what we do today at work is done in a team environment. People who are incapable of working with others have far less value in the workplace today.
• Focus. Let’s face it, we live in a world where we are constantly being distracted. There is no shortage of people and things screaming for our attention. The ability to focus on the core issues and shut out all the distracting noise is critical to success. Look for people who know how to focus on what really makes a difference in your business.
• Big Thinkers. You want people who have big ideas and big goals. The only way to achieve great things is to have people who have a vision and believe they’re capable of reaching tough goals on their plate.

Is this list exhaustive? Absolutely not. Does every candidate need to possess every one of these traits? No. But looking for people who possess as many of them as possible and ignoring the urge to take the first acceptable candidate who walks through the door will make a real difference in your ability to achieve. Don’t settle when it comes to hiring because your people determine your company’s success.

The mission of Strategic Hospitality Search (SHS) is to partner with our clients throughout the US to create cultures of excellence and to enhance the careers of our candidates.  SHS provides expert talent acquisition and consulting services, empowering clients to develop a more aligned work environment resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To learn why hospitality leaders and entrepreneurs call on SHS When Talent Matters Most, visit

Ed Culleeney

About Ed Culleeney

As executive recruiter, Ed thoughtfully places senior-level professionals in a variety of successful companies throughout the United States while ensuring that both clients and candidates achieve greater success and more fulfilled lives. After faithfully serving our country in the United States Air Force, Ed was recruited to Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises where he spent the next 25 years helping to create and refine concepts like Naçional 27, Ben Pao, Gino’s East, Hat Dance, and A-1 Border Beanery. Before joining the SHS team, Ed ventured out to work with an independent restaurateur in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, opening two restaurants to critical acclaim. First Job - Newspaper Delivery Boy, age 12. Trade Associations - Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA).