Jackie SekleckiWhat if the New Hire Doesn’t Work Out?

It’s a valid and frequent concern when hiring any new employee, and more so when working with a staffing and recruiting agency.

We understand that hiring through a staffing agency can feel intimidating. You may feel as though you’re giving up control, the process moves too fast, it won’t work out, or it’s a risk that you don’t want to be tied down to. Having a candidate not work out is a fair concern – as a hiring manager, member of Human Resource or part of your company’s Talent Acquisition team, you understand that staffing is a business of people, and people aren’t always predictable.

The fact is, whether you’re hiring through an agency or through internal resources, you always run the risk that a new hire doesn’t work out. With these thoughts in mind, you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of working with an agency and meeting a great employee because of a concern that you’d have regardless of how the new hire was discovered. With a staffing agency in your corner, you can mitigate these ‘bad employee’ concerns with an experienced agent to guide you.

Areas to Consider when Evaluating the Candidate


We all likely agree that training and education is critical when attempting to maximize talent retention. Asking the difficult questions like, “was the new hire given the appropriate resources and training upon starting?” can often reveal the gap between expectations and capabilities. Though it seems glaringly obvious, this may not be so obvious to those already in-the-know of an environment, product, or process.

To gain productive insight on where to improve onboarding and training processes, survey new hires regularly for feedback on the onboarding process and continue to update your training processes and materials. Review your onboarding process with all parties involved to ensure all facets are coordinating smoothly. Outdated policies and procedures should be revised, while new expectations should be openly communicated. Identify through conversation and evaluation if the new hire’s deficiencies could be improved through additional training, shadowing, or mentorship.


Everyone knows that timing is critical, but factoring in time when dealing with a new hire is often overlooked, especially when there’s ample work to be done and deadlines are pressing in. Consider if you have given the new hire, whether temporary or permanent, enough time to get acclimated to the new role. Give the benefit of the doubt where appropriate and be careful not to let the built-up frustration of an open seat affect your judgement on the current person in it. If the new hire is filling a seat that’s been open for a few weeks and the work has been piling up, you may feel more pressure to have them get up and running faster.

If work is in fact falling behind, consider evaluating the workload. Has this always been a problem with the role, or is it a recent development? If it’s not recent, perhaps the job is too big for one person to reasonably take on, even if it was once a manageable project in the past, and another set of hands would help redistribute the workload. Growth is a great problem to have but staffing your teams to manage increased workloads is imperative not only in employee retention, but also for internal and external deadlines.


This could be an easy miscommunication to make because it sounds like something expected, but every workplace is dynamic and ever-changing. Asking yourself if new hires are given the appropriate expectations at point of application, interview, offer, and starting can be a tough question to answer, but can uncover the reason for poor performance. Some roles, unbeknownst to managers or otherwise, end up picking up additional unmentioned responsibilities that can detract from their focus on expected production.

In the unfortunate instance that your new hire is underperforming, consider if they are aware of their underperformance or shortcomings. Utilizing a performance-improvement plan with regular check-ins on progress, or perhaps pairing your candidate with an established mentor, to fill training gaps if the employee shows potential for improvement can lead to a successful long-term relationship with your new hire. Ensuring that priorities are clearly outlined days and weeks into the role helps everyone succeed by reaffirming goals and expectations.

Opening a discussion with your staffing agency about reevaluating expectations with a new hire can deliver the extra push a new employee may need to understand their responsibilities. Ensuring that priorities are clearly outlined days and weeks into the role helps everyone succeed by reaffirming goals and expectations.

Work with Your Agency Partner Sooner Rather than Later

Speaking with your agency representative early and often is highly encouraged! There’s no such thing as overcommunicating in staffing, so establish a productive line of communication with your agency representative. This may look like regular emails or phone calls, or perhaps your recruiting agent will be invited on-site to see how things are going with new hires they’ve placed with your company. Whatever your communications method, make sure that includes often and open feedback in both directions!

Multiple contacts with your agency at the start of one or many new hires is expected. It’s completely normal to speak on Day 1, Day 3, and Day 5 of new placements to discuss any possible successes and concerns, job performance and ability to work with your staff in real time. Communication with your agency rep during these initial days with a new hire is pivotal in determining if a new hire is going to succeed.  

Find Solutions and Problem-Solve Whenever Possible

Terminating staff members doesn’t have to be your first course of action. Problem-solving, when possible, is almost always more timesaving and cost beneficial. If an issue occurs, pair with your staffing agency to address it immediately. Don’t brush it under the rug or wait for a “next time.” Immediate action allows for the new hire to make the appropriate corrections, as well as for the staffing company to adjust their parameters for future candidates. It is essential to loop your agency in so that everyone understands company goals.

However, when you’ve exhausted your options and you know that no additional training is going to bridge the gap, trust your instincts and work with your agency to take the right actions necessary to terminate the candidate.

Gameplan to Avoid a Similar Situation in the Future

After there’s a failed hire, there can be a sense of disappointment. The recruiter feels as though they let the company down, and vice versa, the client company feels jilted at the expense of an employee that didn’t work out. The benefit of having a staffing company as a partner is that there is no lack of qualified candidates. Another talented potential employee could be sitting in an interview with your team shortly!

So, what can be done to mitigate future failures?


Reference checks are the easiest way to double-check a candidate’s skills and shortcomings. It’s an effective and appropriate tool to request references from a candidate prior to extending offers. References will speak volumes on a hire’s ability to not only perform the given tasks, but how they operate as an employee. Supervisor references will be your best & most unbiased insight, but also the hardest to obtain if the candidate is still currently employed with their supervisor or manager.

Revisit your Interview Process

The interview process itself can often be a leading cause for failed hires. Interviews are easily de-railed by outside forces and giving your candidate your undivided attention either in person, or virtually, is imperative in engaging their interest in your company, as well as the position they applied for. If you’ve had a series of failed new hires, take into consideration the platform of your interview. Whether it was a phone call, video meeting or onsite interview, you should determine if it was the correct method to gauge the candidate’s qualifications (both tangible & intangible).

You may also want to consider the interviewer(s). Was a manager present? Was someone that’s in the current or similar position involved? Involving the right parties in the hiring decision can have a significant impact on the interview process, even streamlining it to prevent losing out on stronger or more qualified candidates.

Further items to reflect upon can include the interview questions themselves. Questions should be designed to get the candidate to do most of the talking. Situational questions allow candidates to demonstrate how they would operate in the role, providing the interviewer(s) with valuable insight on a potential hire’s capabilities beyond the resume.

So, Why Hire with a Staffing Agency at All?

You’re going to hire someone, so why not hire someone who has been pre-qualified by a knowledgeable and resourceful agent who can not only narrow down your search, but save you time and effort on selecting the best candidates? You’ll always run the risk that a new hire doesn’t work out, but those chances are minimized when you pair with a talented staffing agency.

When you choose a staffing agency to assist you with your hiring needs, you’re gaining an insightful set of hands to help manage the process on your behalf. This is especially helpful when dealing with specialized roles that require expertise in a skillset beyond one’s capabilities; for example, you may need to hire a software engineer, but have no idea what technical skills would be needed to complete the project at hand. Pairing with an experience technical recruiter who knows what skills are valuable can save you time and effort, while placing the most qualified candidates in front of your hiring manager.

Moreover, when you pair with a staffing agency, you gain access to their vast pool of pre-screened candidates. It’s more than likely that at some point you’ll need to staff for an unexpected replacement, and instead of scrambling to find a capable new hire, you can simply call your agent and tell them what you’re looking for. Chances are, they will have someone in mind to fill your vacancy. You could have fresh interviews scheduled before the end of the day!

Your agency representative is a resource to support your company’s goals and staffing needs. As your company grows and adapts, so too should your hiring needs. Having a full-service staffing agency like BANKW Staffing in your back pocket to supplement your existing hiring team is the secret weapon you didn’t know you needed!

About BANKW Staffing

Through its portfolio companies, KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting, Alexander Technology Group, The Nagler Group, Sales Search Partners, and KNF&T Staffing Resources, BANKW Staffing, LLC is the leading regional provider of temporary and direct-hire staffing services in the areas of finance, accounting, information technology, office and administration, legal, human resources, and sales.

BANKW Staffing companies have received over 100 awards for rapid growth, business excellence, and workplace quality. Recognition includes Inc. 500, Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” and Business NH Magazine’s “Business of the Year”.

Learn More – https://www.bankwstaffing.com

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