August 8, 2023

Trust Your Gut

What goes wrong when a company makes a bad hire?  That's the question my friend, the CEO of a promising life-sciences startup, wanted to discuss when we had coffee.

He hired a search firm to recruit a managing director for an overseas subsidiary. After the usual months of searching, he found a candidate with an impressive track record and credentials.

The candidate joined the company, but things began to go wrong right away. He showed up late for his first day of employment, and things went downhill from there. After just a few weeks they agreed to part ways. 

The good news is that my friend recognized the problem quickly and took decisive action. But that's not what he wanted to talk about. He wanted to understand where he'd gone wrong, and how he could avoid making the same mistake again.

As we discussed his interactions with the candidate, it became clear my friend had misgivings from the beginning. Something about the candidate just didn’t feel right.

However, he allowed the candidate’s impressive credentials to overrule his concerns. Why? Because he was under intense pressure to fill the job. I bet everyone reading this has made a similar mistake.

I told him, "Don't feel bad — I've made the same mistake myself, and every time it's been the result of not listening to my gut. The good news is that your instincts were good — you just have to listen to them next time.”

Here's the moral: Don’t make the hire if you feel ambivalent about a candidate. Listen to your gut if it tells you something is wrong. If you have the sense that something isn't right, it probably isn’t. Sit back and try to identify the issue, and if it’s a deal killer, move on.

What goes wrong when a company makes a bad hire?

of Praise

Mike Travis invested time to understand our business. He was efficient, proactive in keeping us informed of progress, and highly attuned to cultural fit.  We were thrilled with the process and the outcome — thank you Travis & Company!

— Francois Michelon, CEO, ENDRA Life Sciences