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180 Days

– By Andrew B Morris

Recruiting new talent is fundamental to growth and needs to be part of a well thought-through process that evaluates skills, experience, ambition, culture and values. This is (or should be) a highly objective process, because at this stage, there is no emotional attachment to the candidate or to any decision to appointment them (or not).

When we finally decide who gets the job, we can often feel that we then own the responsibility of being proved right – that we’ve made the right all on this hire. But this obsession with being proved right can sometimes blind our objectivity during that all-important probationary period.

This can lead to hanging onto new people for far longer than we should because we’re so keen to see them succeed – and to see our decision to hire them vindicated. The cost and time to replace them, not to mention the acknowledgement that we made a mistake – all weigh heavily.

So what happens? After 12 months they remain with us and are still not doing what we’re paying them for. At 18 months, after the pressure from our colleagues becomes irresistible, we finally accept the reality and let them go.

While the cost of hiring the wrong person is impossible to calculate accurately, at senior levels it’s reckoned to be several times a bad hire’s annual salary. So it’s not surprising we take their failure to succeed very personally and see it as a reflection on our own failure.

But come on. Wake up! 180 days is ample time to know if somebody is right or not as the case may be.


Andrew B MorrisAndrew Morris is Chief Executive of the Academy for Chief Executives, helping businesses to accelerate growth through better leadership.  Andrew describes himself as a creative businessman, who enjoys meeting people from all facets of life. His mantra is ‘take your job seriously, but not yourself.’

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