Desperate Times

...do not call for desperate measures--pick employees carefully.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of . Subscribe »

America's tight job market has caused some entrepreneurs to relax their hiring policies and lower their standards. The problem, though, is you could end up singing the desperation-hiring blues. "Don't let [your] need for someone get in front of the fact that this is the most important business decision you have to make," warns Mel Kleiman, managing partner of Hire Tough Group, a consulting and training firm in Houston. "Don't let short-term solutions get in the way of long-term objectives."

Disciplining yourself to hire the right candidate-and not just any warm body-when you're strapped for help is tough. But while lowering your standards might seem easier at the time, it can end up costing you money. Just ask Kayla Tollen, 51, founder of Kayla Advertising in Key West, Florida. "I've given in to 'desperation hiring' a few times," she recalls. "I once hired someone who didn't totally fit my criteria, and they were terrible to a client. I had to fire them." Tollen now always uses a checklist to evaluate potential employees and won't even consider hiring someone without a second interview.

What it boils down to is refusing to compromise your standards, no matter how badly you need to fill a position. Wayne Mello, North American executive director for Robert Half International Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, the largest specialized employment agency in the United States, offers this advice: "Slow down the pace and get out of the filling-an-empty-seat mind-set."


Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

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