13 Signs You’ve Made a Bad Hire (And What To Do After)

By Taylor Berman - Nov. 3, 2022
Ready To Hire Your Next Employee?

Even after going over resumes, interviewing, and discarding any bad candidates, it’s still possible to make a bad hire. Red flags with a new hire aren’t always obvious during the hiring process and start to show up after they have started.

Spotting the signs that someone is not right for the position is essential to keep a business successful. We have gathered 13 signs that you’ve made a bad hire, as well as what to do after to help keep your business running smoothly and stays successful.

Key Takeaways:

  • It can take a new hire three to six months to adjust to a new position.

  • If you notice they don’t have the skills that you expected and they have a lack of understanding about the role could be a sign they lied of their resume and are a bad hire.

  • Do regular check-ins with your new hires to make sure they are adjusting well and that they have everything they need to be successful.

Signs That You've Made A Bad Hire (And What To Do After

How Much Time Does it Take for a New Hire To Adjust?

If it’s only been a few weeks with the new hire and you start to have doubts about them, give them time. It can take new employees anywhere between three and six months to adjust to a new position. There are a lot of factors a new hire has to deal with when they first come on. They may be new to the area and need to get adjusted all around.

If you have a larger company, they may be having a harder time getting to know everyone and finding their way around the building. Being the new person anywhere is difficult so being patient and helpful can make their adjustment period easier.

If your new hire is taking a longer time to adjust, there may be another problem at hand. It’s important to root out the problem. It could be because they just aren’t the right person for the job, or the onboarding process needs to be adjusted.

Get Started Hiring Now

Warning Signs That Someone is a Bad Hire

  1. They don’t have the skills you expected. During the interview, you most likely go over a candidates skill set. If it matches what you are looking for, your hire them and expect that they deliver on those skills. But sometimes people like and when they start, they don’t actually have the skills needed.

    If you suspect that they lied or exaggerated their qualifications, ask them again about previous roles and check out some of their references to clarify what they said.

  2. A bad attitude from the beginning. Most new hired are excited and eager to get started, so if they have a bad attitude, it could be a sign of a bad hire. Having someone new is a great way to get feedback on how things are run but there is a difference between constructive criticism and just being negative about the job.

    Signs that they have a bad attitude could include swearing in the workplace, getting irritable with other workers, and making a lot of negative remarks about the workplace. Having a bad attitude in the first few weeks could be a sign that things won’t get better with them.

  3. A general lack of understanding about the role. There’s going to be a few things that they won’t understand at first such as the programing your company uses, passwords, and even the process at which things are done. But if you notice that they don’t understand the general things that are needed to complete the job, could be a sign that they lied on their resume about their qualifications.

  4. Being late. A few times being late in the beginning isn’t something to worry about. They may be new to the area and they are trying to find the best route to work. They might even be getting lost in the building or have issues getting past security.

    If they are making it habit of being late all the time, they may not have the best time management or they don’t enjoy the job and push off coming in. This could be a sign that they are unreliable or they are going to quit.

  5. Asking too may questions. You want new hires to ask questions. It shows their interest in learning new things and getting adjusted to things. But there is a point when you can ask to many questions. It could be a sign that they don’t understand the job and what to do. If you seem to be holding their hand through the process, it’s a sign they are not the right person for the job.

  6. Making endless complaints. They may have the best attitude about the job itself, but everything else is a complaint. They may not like the coffee that is in the breakroom, they don’t like the parking lot, or they are dissatisfied about the desk that they are given.

    making complaints about everything could be a sign that something else is wrong. They could be unhappy with the position and it could spread throughout the office, making everyone miserable.

  7. Arrogant attitude. Confidence is a great asset, but you don’t want to work with someone that thinks they’re better than the team, the company or even the job. If you’re detecting notes of unnecessary arrogance, it’s worth looking at how they fit in with the team and what their wider attitude to work is like.

  8. They fail to learn from their past mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they are still learning how things are done within the company. But if you notice they are still making the same mistake over and over, there’s good change they won’t ever learn to do it right. Good employees don’t make repeat mistakes.

  9. They keep referring to their old job. Using past experience is a great way to succeed. Especially if they learned any transferrable skills or have ideas to help improve the efficiency of the company.

    If they are constantly saying things like “well at my old job we didn’t do it that way” or “my old coworker would never do it that way” is a sign that they haven’t moved on. Making a few references to their old job is okay, but you don’t want that to be their only personality.

  10. Not willing to adapt to change. Change is bound to happen to everyone. If they are unwilling to adapt to any kind of change could be a sign that they are not right for the position. Things change all the time from the software the company uses, the amount of workers the office has, and even the work that you do during the day.

    This is especially true for smaller companies where is important for employees to be flexible about the work they are given. These changes help everyone grow with the company.

  11. They aren’t delivering their work on time. There are times when work needs to get done on time. If they are constantly late on due dates could be a sign that they are not happy with the work they are doing, and don’t care about seeing the company succeed.

  12. They are overstepping in other people’s work. Being helpful and taking some of the workload off a coworker is great every now and then, but if they seem to be doing it with everyone and not getting their work done, is a sign they don’t belong.

    when they are overstepping it could be a sign that they are trying to assert dominance and be a leader when they aren’t supposed to be one. Doing this is disrespectful to other workers and can lead to no one liking them.

  13. They lack a clear set of priorities with their tasks. Being able to manager your time and which tasks are a priority are key to being successful. If they seem to do the least important work over the priority, they not have the understanding of what needs to get done. This could also be a sign that they have poor decision making skills and can show up in other areas of their career.

What to do After Hiring the Wrong Person

If you suspect that you hired the wrong person, don’t fire them just yet. it’s important to make sure that you actually hired the wrong person instead of making the assumption that you did. Here are some steps to make sure you hired the wrong person:

  • Give yourself a probation period. Probations periods aren’t always fun, but they are great way to make sure you are doing the right thing. While it’s important to give the new hire a probation period, but you should be giving yourself one as well. Give them about six months before making any decisions. Set meetings with the new hire to make notes of their progress. If they don’t pass the probation period, they might not work out at the company.

  • Check in with them. Do regular check-ins with your new hire in the first few months of them being there. This will help you determine the progress they are making. It’s also a great way to determine if your onboarding process needs to be updated. This is a great time to answer any questions that they have about the job and if they are struggling with anything.

  • Consider reassigning them. If they don’t seem to be fitting in with one department, see if there is a another place that they can go. This is crucial if they are preforming well because you don’t want to lose a skilled employee. Not everyone has the same social skill set so firing someone just because they are an outcast isn’t fair.

  • Know when it’s time to terminate. If nothing seems to be working with the new hire, it’s important to know when it’s time to terminate. Here are some situations that termination may be the only solution:

    • They have the right skill set but they are not a team player.

    • They lied about their qualifications and skills and are not able to perform.

    • Keeping the employee on would cost the company more money with training and take more time to complete.

    • They are disrespectful to management and other workers and they have a lack of commitment to the organization.

Get Started Hiring Now

How To Terminate A New Hire

If you have decided that termination is the only option, it’s important to do it the right way. Here are some tips when it comes to terminating a new hire.

  • Document everything. Documenting everything can help prevent the employee from coming back and saying it was wrongful termination. If they are always late or leave early, make a note of it. This also goes for any time that they didn’t do work correctly or was disrespectful to anyone else in the office.

  • Conduct a face-to-face meeting. You don’t want to fire someone over the phone or in an email. Doing it face-to-face is a courtesy that everyone deserves. If the worker is remote, schedule a video call and do it on there.

  • Have a witness in the room. This should be someone from Human Resources, or an assistant manager. This can help eliminate any misunderstanding or allegations that could lead to a lawsuit.

  • Be firm and final. When people are getting fired, they may try to convince you to change your mind. Don’t give any second chances. Be firm that they are fired and that it is a final decision.

  • Retrieve any company property. Before they leave, college things such as their ID badge, company computer, or cellphones. Have someone stay with them until these items have been returned. If they are a remote worker, set up a time and date that the equipment must be returned by.

    During this time they should also collect their own personal belonging and leave the building. After they have left, remove their access to any company information.

Taylor is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Taylor got into writing because she enjoys writing articles that help people and loves creating stories that inspire. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with an interest in communications media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


Taylor Berman

Taylor is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Taylor got into writing because she enjoys writing articles that help people and loves creating stories that inspire. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with an interest in communications media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

Get connected with quality candidates whose resumes on Zippia best fit your job description.

Related posts

Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

Get connected with quality candidates whose resumes on Zippia best fit your job description.

Topics: Building Culture, Leading People, SMEs, Startups