The pressure is on. Tom has just given you his two week’s notice. Sure, work continuity is important. Yet, the job still has to be done. In a rush to hire and out of a desire to maintain workflow, have you ever heard a hiring supervisor say something like “any warm body will do” or “if he is available and hasn’t murdered someone, he has the job.” Have you ever expressed such a sentiment? It’s not at all uncommon.
There are good reasons to move as quickly as possible to fill open positions. Some might include: a desire to have the departing staff member help orient and train the new hire; perhaps a genuine concern for other staff who depend on the position to support them or will have to cover the departing employee’s work; and/or, an interest in assuring clients continue to be served; or perhaps because you will be out of compliance with legal or contractual staffing or service delivery requirements that could result in financial penalties.
These are good reasons but, …. and it is a big but, consider what happens if the person you rush to hire, is not a good fit. Your clients may not be happy with the level of service the new hire provides. If your clients are not happy they might express that dissatisfaction with their feet, and, by telling others. Staff may not feel supported by the new hire. Actual harm can be done to your organization’s reputation or to clients, and, to your bottom line. In such circumstances, the open slot can become a revolving door situation of rush to hire, have early termination or resignation, and rush to hire again, and again. Compounding this ill effect, there is the cost of continually recruiting and training, and if hiring of any warm body continues then other good employees will tire of the situation and leave, further negatively impacting the work environment.
My advice is to hire right; hire as quickly as you can for all those reasons cited above and more, but (for all those reasons cited above, and more) take the time you need to hire right. When a position is open, take the opportunity to evaluate the job description, and perhaps, make positive changes. Be as certain as you can that you understand why the incumbent resigned. If there is a reason other than what the employee stated in his/her resignation letter or exit interview (and there frequently is another reason), and it is not addressed, the replacement hired may find the job (and job conditions) is not what it was held out to be, and leave. Consider your mission or purpose and your work culture and hire as much for mission/purpose and work culture fit as you would for education, other credentials and experience. Generally do not hire after one interview. Bring the person back for a second interview at a different time of day from the first. Have at least one other person interview the candidate perhaps someone from HR and or someone the new hire will be working with (two and three heads are better than one).
Taking the time to hire right is time well spent and, is in the best interest of the new hire, fellow workers, clients, and the bottom line. It will help build a more positive work environment. And positive work environments are characterized by lower turnover and higher degrees of satisfaction, cooperation and teamwork.
For more information on the importance and benefits of hiring right, the consequences of failing to do so, and how to hire right, read chapters 8 & 12 in “Being A Supervisor 1.0: a Handbook for the New, Aspiring, and Experienced Supervisor”.