I was recently standing outside a restaurant with a friend, studying the menu. The owner came out to see if we needed assistance.
My friend: “I’m not totally clear on what gluten options you have.”
The owner described the options, which were plentiful.
My friend: “If I get the Mediterranean salad, can I get goat cheese rather than feta? I’m allergic to cow’s milk, so I would need the goat cheese.”
The owner agreed that it would not be a problem. She invited us in and said she would give us some corn chips and salsa to ease our appetites. (I think it was pretty clear that we were starving!)
My friend: “I’m allergic to corn.”
The owner’s mouth hit the ground. When she recovered she said, “Our chef can make you some side dishes that meet your requirements so that you have a fulfilling meal.” She clearly went above and beyond, and we were grateful for the extra effort.
We sat down and, after a few minutes, our waiter came over. A rock would have had more personality than the waiter. It was clear that he could have cared less to be there, and he could have cared less about us. Eventually, we did get our food and it was good, but he put a damper on the dinner.
The experience reminded me of all of the good work that my clients do, and the frustration they often feel when not being able to exceed expectations. I learned a long time ago that regardless of how solid your recruitment and hiring practices are, it is always a gamble when you make a job offer. You really never know how the person is going to perform. Sometimes they are amazing. And sometimes they suck up your energy and time because you have to manage them closely to ensure that they perform even the minimum requirements of their job.
I don’t have a solution. I just want to assure my colleagues that “bad hires” happen to all of us. And when it’s clear that the person is not a good fit, there are options. You and your organization will continue to thrive and excel at your mission. There might just be a few bumps in the road along the way. But the sooner you can resolve the issues, the sooner your customers and clients will be overly impressed.