I worked for one of South Africas’ leading E commerce companies for 6 weeks. Yes you read that right; only 6 weeks. This was a job I had wanted for years. I applied every year for 5 years till they actually decided I had the skills they needed. I went for 5 interviews, waited patiently for them to make a decision, follow up on my references, do background checks until, FINALLY, I got a letter of offer. I was elated. I counted down the days till I started. I prepped as much as possible, I brought new matching stationary, and thought of all the things that I would accomplish in this new role.
They flew me up to Cape Town for Training. It was harder than expected, it always is. Then off to work I go. Still with butterflies in my stomach, I started doing what I could to excel in this role. I did research, I cold called, I pulled favours, I stalked, I messed up, I fixed the mistakes and I was thrilled that I was learning so much.
Then I met our Coastal Manager; and within two minutes in an office with him, my butterflies died, I was no longer in this happy bubble, I was now defensive and questioning why I had accepted this job. He killed my motivation.
From that moment one, nothing was the same, I wasn’t as passionate about what I was doing and I had lost faith in company, because he represented the company.
So what happened? His first opening sentence to us went something along these lines.
“I am not your friend, I am your manager, if you want my respect, you need to earn it. However that being said, I demand your respect. If I tell you to do something, DO NOT question me. Just do it”.
Now I realise that it doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world, but for me personally, this officially closed down all channels of communications between us. As a new employee, how was I supposed to learn if I was not allowed to question things?
Then we had a client meeting. He was supposed to take me there to check on my pitch, see how I overcome objections etc. in other words he was supposed to be there as an observer. The meeting he came to was a massive client meeting, a meeting I had fought really hard for. A meeting I was proud to have actually gotten in the first place. This meeting took place in one of my favourite spots in Durban. A spot I visit at least twice a month, I know the staff, the staff know me and this is a place that I wanted to go back to.
20 minutes into this meeting my manager interrupted me, insulted my client and then got into a shouting match with the owner. I wanted to die. I wanted the floor to swallow me up whole, that’s how embarrassed I was. We basically got kicked out of that meeting.
I didn’t last long after that. I think it was about 2 weeks. I was miserable.
That’s the difference a bad manager can make. I went from excited, passionate, and WANTING to excel, to embarrassed, doubting the company and wanting to be anywhere else.
A bad hire can cost an organisation thousands. But so many organisations are not taking recruitment seriously. They hire people based off the merits of a CV alone, without taking into account company culture or team environments.
This is the one aspect of recruitment I personally have never understood. Any warm body won’t do. The employees make up an organisation, so who you hire can change team dynamics, customer service etc.
So often we get job specs that tell us exactly what skills are needed but when we dig deeper into what sort of person they want, it’s something they haven’t even considered. This shouldn’t be an afterthought. This is an essential. Different people fit within different environments so think about whether you are looking for someone who would fit in within a corporate or casual environment, if they would need to be customer facing, or office based, do they have the industry experience required or not. Does your company micro manage or not. Take all of the above into account the before you make your next hire.
Bad hires aren’t worth it. They are costly, time consuming and can do so much more damage than people realise. Hire smart. Know what you want. Be patient – you won’t necessarily get the perfect candidate on your first interview. Speak to your recruiter. Tell them what it is you want AND don’t want. Be honest and upfront, and don’t settle. You know what will take your business to the next level.