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

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. 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 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 , it can end up costing you money. Just ask Kayla Tollen, 51, founder of Kayla Advertising in Key West, . "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 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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