How To Make Better Hires

Dear Bev,

We just fired the fourth operations manager in six years. I find it tough to believe that a simple role like this can be so hard, but we’ve had no luck in keeping someone for the long haul. My partner thinks we need to hire an expensive recruiter. I don’t agree. Can paying someone 30% of the salary plus bonus (the recruiter’s fee) to identify the right person really make a difference?

— George S.

Dear George,

Having spent some of my career as an executive recruiter, I am going to have to say that in many cases the 30% is well deserved! Is it the right thing in this situation? I’m honestly not sure. You will want to pose a few questions to yourself and your partner before you decide to hire an outside recruiter.

Are you both clear and on the same page about what this role should be and the requirements you are seeking? Have you identified, in writing, what success looks like? Are you hiring only an operations manager, or are you throwing in other responsibilities, such as administrative assistant, client service person, etc.? Is the term “manager” accurate – does the person have management responsibilities, or are they doing all of the operations work themselves? Do you have a clear process internally for evaluating and hiring applicants?

Where is the misfit happening? Have you reviewed the four people who were fired to identify any commonalities in the problems they faced?

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