What Happens When Our New Hires Underperform?

You went through the legwork. You dove through the funnel and among dozens (maybe hundreds) of resumes, you finally found the one—at least, that’s what you thought. The candidate that dazzled in the phone interview and always had a prompt follow-up suddenly shrank up when they settled into their new desk.

Why do we encounter underperforming new hires?

Undercover Recruiter has a narrower view on this problem with an article titled “Underperforming New Hires? It’s Probably Your Fault.” In short, they acknowledged that the candidate is rarely the cause of this problem. A slapdash recruiting effort and a flimsy onboarding plan are the diagnosis du jour for candidates that fall flat in their first few weeks.

In reality, it’s too easy to blame the recruiter for all the ills of employee humankind, but there are steps you can take to make sure your hiring manager doesn’t call you with embarrassing news.

  1. Take your time.

Hiring too fast and too furious can have negative consequences for the company you’re only trying to help. You can be aware of a time crunch on a job, but at the same time, you need to communicate with your hiring leaders and your candidates that you were put on the job to find the best future employee, and you’ll be doing just that. Spend extra time on the phone with the company and candidate alike and really suss out just what they’re each looking for.


2. Communicate what and who they need.

A common reason for lackluster new hires is confusion over what their job entails. Sure, they knew they were interviewing for an accountant role, but were they aware the position had more administrative work than normal because the company is a small business? Walk them through what a day in the life of the role would look like and their workplace confidence will skyrocket.


3. Consider the onboarding process.

According to the 2018 Employee Engagement & Retention Statistics, 69% of employees would remain with a company for at least 3 years if they have a well-structured onboarding program. As a recruiter there’s not much you can do on that front, but it’s all part of your argument to the hiring leader that there has to be some official transition process for the candidate when they join your company.

We all need time to adjust to new jobs, and unlike other recruiter blogs, I don’t think there’s a blame that can be saddled on any one person. The recruiter can take steps to communicate better, the candidate can be more honest during the process, and the hiring leader can be more understanding when they arrive. See how these tips affect the underperformers and sound off in the comments with your tips and tricks!

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