The Ultimate Paradox: Hire Slow & Fire Fast

4 minutes read

Hiring new employees is a huge task for any organisation, most of all a new start up. It is a process that requires careful deliberation and lots of patience. Needless to say, most enterprises jump on the latest trend and hire the next Tom, Dick, or Harry to fill their vacant seats in a bid to save cost to the company. Many beg to differ and take their own sweet time in finding the “perfect” employee, best suited for the particular job profile.


The debate on the catchphrase “Hire slow & Fire fast” has been endless, with the balance tipping on either side, time and again. Here is a brief snapshot of what this ideology was all about initially and what it entails for the current generation.

The tenacious cliché

This above mentioned phrase has been an abiding bible to those who aim to build a high performance team in their respective organisations. It has been seen in the past that in the urgency to hire a particular candidate, companies ignore the performance requirements and appoint people based on ‘first impression’ or the ‘gut feeling’.

In short, they avoid conducting proper background checks and verifying employee referral as mentioned in the resume, which leads to the employment of an inexperienced candidate, unfit for the required job profile. The specific attributes that are required were clearly not available in this person.

Naturally-soft-hearted that the administration was, the unfit employee was given time-off, forgiven for his mistakes, and was eventually not expected to do any crucial work. With time his presence was no longer needed, he was fired 3 months after being hired. In essence, he was hired too fast and fired too slow.

Examples such as these, sparked the inevitable trend of hiring carefully and firing instantly. The main attributes of this ideology are to:

  • Save time, energy, and resources.
  • Systematically follow the performance qualification profile, as laid down by the organisation.
  • Conduct proper research before hiring a candidate.
  • Be logical, methodical, and straight-forward.
  • Be sure of what you seek in an employee and then streamline your hiring process to achieve those qualities.
  • Check employee referrals, work history, educational qualifications, and all other associated data mentioned in the candidates resume.
  • Train an effective interviewing team, best equipped to ask powerful questions and discern the subsequent replies.
  • Be considerate and not rush into a decision.
  • Not stick around with an individual if he is unsuitable for the job.
  • Initiate performance coaching if there is a negative change in employee behaviour.
  • Review and assess the performance expectations.
  • Hold the employee accountable for the slack in his output and performance.
  • Give sufficient opportunities to the employee to improve — but not too many.
  • Cut the employee loose if he continues to under-perform.

This kind of behaviour is expected to be fruitful in the long run. Since companies are hiring human capital, they tread carefully and hire slow. If the hiring proceeds without problems, there is absolutely no need to do any firing in the long run. It is nothing but an investment which needs to be planned, organised, and well thought-out.

Grasping the concept

The idea behind hiring slow and firing fast has been floating around for a very long time. With cracks appearing in its foundations, several experts are now looking at the other side of the coin and sincerely questioning the basis of this fundamental technique.

The question that is repeatedly asked is; why do you hire a candidate?

Not to fill a seat surely, but to fulfill a professional need.

Every company expects a certain result from its employee. If the individual delivers, he prospers, but if he fails to do the needful, he is deemed unsuitable for the job, since he was unable to fulfill a particular requirement due to which the business suffered. Hence, we can see that as long as business needs continues to be met, and there are no delays or road blocks, the organisation tends to thrive.

After all this, the need to hire an employee slowly becomes quite pointless as:

  • Every day that you waste in looking for an employee you have some professional need which is getting neglected. So you are either losing money or wasting it.
  • Once a need has been identified, it requires to be met instantly through quick hires. (This does not mean you rush into a decision. Take your time — but not too much. Be swift and diligent.)
  • If you continue to drag your recruitment process, the most popular candidates will be lost to competing organisations.
  • It will not decide the quality of your hires. If all the “in-demand” candidates drop out, only the weaker ones will remain, who will anyways not add any value to the company despite being selected after a rigorous screening process.
  • Hiring promptly will save the company cost in terms of salary. A candidate who has been bid on, will ask for greater salary as opposed to one who gets selected immediately.
  • It will keep the brand image intact. If a recruiter hires slowly he loses market value as a prompt professional, thereby foregoing some of the best talent in the industry.

Hence we can see that even though hiring slow has its advantages, the best move forward and undoubtedly, would be to ‘Hire fast & Fire fast’.

The need of today is to hire people who can be easily trained and effectively moulded into the company’s culture to minimize the risk of firing. They need to be judged effectively and promptly at the time of job interview, their resume screened thoroughly and their personality checked with the best behavioural questions. A prompt and careful hire will yield positive returns in the long run minus the incorrigible task of firing.

Author Bio: Aditya Singhal is a professional content writer who works on a variety of topics like employment, real estate, and education.



Subscribe now to get summarised alerts of new posts by email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend