Hire fast, fire slow or hire slow, fire fast: which is better?

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The right hiring strategy could be the thing that helps your dealership secure the best candidates, but which is the best strategy to adopt?
‘Hire Fast, Fire Slow’ and ‘Hire Slow, Fire Fast’ are two popular yet opposing strategies which each offer their own benefits and disadvantages. If you can’t decide which approach is right for your dealership, here’s an overview of how the two strategies differ and the pros and cons of each.

What’s the difference?

If the concepts are new to you, each strategy relates to the amount of time and effort you invest when hiring new staff or firing employees who fail to meet expectations.
hirefastorhireslow | Teamrecruit
When following the ‘Hire Fast, Fire Slow’ strategy, the recruitment process is conducted in the shortest possible amount of time, basing hiring decisions largely on gut instinct to secure the best candidate as quickly as you can. In the case you experience difficulties with an employee once they’ve joined the dealership, you can then invest the extra time you saved during the hiring process to support them as much as possible to succeed in the role before considering other options.
In contrast, a ‘Hire Slow, Fire Fast’ approach involves a significantly slower and more comprehensive hiring process to ensure a candidate genuinely ticks every box before offering them the position. When following this approach, if you’re unhappy with an employee’s performance you swiftly take measures to remove them from the business to avoid investing any additional time and effort in them.

The pros and cons of hiring fast and firing slow

Hiring fast

A speedy recruitment process can be a great way to secure the best talent before they either lose interest or get snapped up by your competitors.
Smaller dealerships that don’t have the luxury of a full human resources team are often forced to make recruitment decisions using very basic screening processes. In many cases this can work to their benefit, as they can make an offer to a good candidate before others have the chance to.
Larger dealerships that do have that support could unintentionally do themselves a disservice by drawing out the recruitment process, with the top candidate going elsewhere before they can make an offer.
However, hiring fast isn’t a perfect method. You are assuming the risk of certain information or challenges coming to light throughout the tenure of the employee that could have been uncovered with a more extensive hiring process.
Firing slow
Adopting a measured approach to managing underperforming employees can be an effective way to resolve any underlying issues and transform underperformers into productive team members.
Whether you’re dealing with a challenging parts manager or financial controller, as the employer it’s up to you to give every employee the best possible chance to succeed in their role. When a new employee is brought into a dealership, they need adequate training and support to help them wrap their head around the business and what’s required of them. Without this, a new employee can only offer so much.
Instead of jumping the gun and firing an employee as soon as they fail to hit the mark, investing some extra time and effort to develop their skills, understand any issues they’re facing, and ensure they have all the tools they need to perform their role could be what they need to become a high-performing employee. During the process, you may even uncover certain skills or characteristics that would be ideal for a different role within the dealership.
The obvious downside of this approach is that it can be inefficient and expensive. You may find department managers and human resources staff dedicating a lot of time to supporting the staff member to no avail. However, in the case things don’t work out, at least you can rest easy knowing that you exhausted all avenues before reaching that decision.

The pros and cons of hiring slow and firing fast

Hiring slow
If you want to have 100% confidence in your hiring decisions, a recruitment process which includes multiple interviews, psychometric assessments, and extensive background checks will usually do the job.
However, it doesn’t come without disadvantages. A thorough recruitment process takes time—time in which the original pool of candidates you had to choose from can shrink considerably.
The best candidates rarely need to search for a new role for long, and without adequate communication throughout the hiring process, candidates may accept another role elsewhere or simply lose interest in the role.
A drawn-out recruitment process can also give the impression that the dealership lacks solid processes, which can be a major deterrent for some candidates.
While the process will ultimately lead you to the best candidate out of the pool you can choose from, the pool will likely be significantly smaller than it was at the beginning of the process.
Firing fast
Firing fast may be the best approach if you’re in a situation where allowing an employee to stay within the business any longer is likely to cause more damage than good.
While you always need to follow correct protocols and abide by the relevant legislation, swiftly removing a precarious staff member that has the potential to corrupt good employees or establish a toxic culture within the dealership may be what’s needed.
If you invested the additional time to gain an in-depth understanding of what they have to offer during the recruitment phase, the decision to fire fast will be easier as you’ll have a clear picture of what the trade-off is.
The strategy does however come with the potential for legal issues if you haven’t followed the letter of the law.
Firing fast can also result in a high turnover rate and a perception among the industry that the dealership is known for treating employees like numbers, giving them the flick after a couple of months. It can also have a negative impact on other employees who fear they might be next on the chopping block; a demonstrated history of supporting underperforming employees is more likely to get more buy-in from other employees.

So what’s the best approach?

While there is no single solution that will work for every dealership, an approach that finds some sort of middle ground in relation to both hiring and firing often proves to be the best strategy.
Ideally, you should aim to find a healthy balance between the two by dedicating a little extra time to better understand candidates during the hiring process, while ensuring you provide all the tools, guidance, and support that staff need to succeed in their role.
To do this, it’s important to establish a clear hiring process which includes all the essentials, then working out how you can work through that process in the shortest possible time.
This approach yields the benefits of a tedious process by including all the checks and balances while minimising the opportunity for your competitors to swipe the best candidates. Then if you do find you’re having trouble with an employee, consider if there is any area where they haven’t received appropriate training or support to succeed in the role before you show them the door.
Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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