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Avoiding the Panic Hire: How to Hire Swiftly and Effectively

Updated Oct 31, 2023

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Creating a successful and efficient hiring process can be a challenge, especially when you need to fill an open position immediately. However, as most managers know, hiring the wrong employee can do more damage than good. That employee you hastily hired, in hopes that they would be good for the role, can quickly send your profits, productivity levels and company culture plummeting.

In that case, the employee either quits or is terminated, and you’re back to square one. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the proper techniques and planning, you can avoid panic-hiring the wrong person and hire swiftly and effectively instead.

How to avoid making a panic hire

If you want to avoid making a panic hire (without leaving the position open indefinitely), here are five tips to follow.

1. Acknowledge the talent shortage.

The labor shortage is real. Although the unemployment rate skyrocketed in 2020, it has since been decreasing dramatically ever since. With millions of open jobs and not enough people to fill them, the economy is set up to favor the job seeker. As a result, workers are becoming pickier when it comes to where they want to work, making it even harder to find the right person for the job.

That is why it’s more important than ever to be smart and creative in finding great employees. Use helpful recruiting tools, innovative hiring processes and effective strategies to help locate the employees that are the best fit for the position. They’re out there, but finding them takes more effort and time.

Facing the talent shortage head-on can help your company manage expectations about the time it will take to fill a position. You won’t find the right candidate overnight, and that’s OK. Take the time you need and stay true to your interview process to make the right hire.

FYIDid you know

Finding good employees during a labor shortage is only half the battle. You must persuade them to work for you over the competition. Providing competitive compensation, comprehensive employee benefits and great company culture can help you attract and recruit the top talent you are looking for.

2. Standardize your interview process.

When a critical position is open, your routine hiring process can fall by the wayside as you rush to fill the void. There’s a chance you skip the details or certain steps in the process because you know someone (usually a friend or acquaintance) who might fit the role. Unfortunately, scenarios like this often lead to a bad hire. A lack of formal process doesn’t allow sufficient time to ensure that the candidate fits the company and the culture, not just the role.

Instead, your interview process should have a standard format that you use for all open positions, regardless of the role or the timeframe to fill it. It doesn’t matter if the seemingly perfect person walks through your door and says they can start tomorrow for a lower-than-expected salary. They need to go through the same interview process as everyone else. This not only helps you identify the right fit, but also streamlines the interview process.

3. Look internally.

The best employee for the job may be closer than you think. Look at your current workforce to identify which of your current employees could be an excellent fit to level up into the open position you are hiring for. According to a Jobvite report, 36% of recruiters said internal hires are their best source for high-quality candidates, making internal hires a top-rated source for hiring.

Not only do you already know that the employee is a great performer and culture fit, but it also takes internal hires much less time to acclimate to the new role in comparison to external hires. If time is of the essence for the open position, promoting an internal hire may likely be much better than hiring externally.

Lessons From LassoBottom line

If you are looking to hire, you can take a lesson from AppleTV+’s Ted Lasso. Specifically, Lasso looked internally to kit man Nathan Shelley and former star Roy Kent when in need of additional coaches. You can find more great tips like these in the b. newsletter.

4. Build a talent bench.

Imagine going through a list of qualified applicants and finding the perfect candidate for the open position, all without having to start recruiting for the position from square one. That’s the magic of a talent bench.

A talent bench is your own pool of qualified applicants who have already provided their information to your company through a previous job posting. Before actively recruiting for a recently opened position, you can first consult your talent bench and identify the skills, years of experience, and other metrics of applicable candidates. Someone you interviewed and passed on for a different position may be just the person you’re looking for to fill the next opening.

Proactively building a talent bench helps you avoid the sinking feeling of looking at an open position and thinking, “I don’t know anyone who can fit this role.” Instead, it puts many qualified candidates right at your fingertips.

5. Look beyond traditional experience.

Open your talent pool by looking beyond traditional experience to focus on the candidate’s potential. Requiring five years of experience in a particular role, for example, might discourage great candidates who have only three years of experience – or maybe even none.

You want the right person to join the team, whether they’ve worked in the field for 20 years or just two. And it’s important to remember that years of experience don’t necessarily guarantee that a candidate is capable of performing the job duties.

Another reason to emphasize talent over experience is that it can help you identify internal candidates that may be eager to take on a new role with more responsibility. Remember that skills can be learned, but talent and attitude can’t be taught.

Read related article: Hiring for Attitude Over Experience: What the Numbers Show

The costs of the wrong hire

Keep this mantra in mind to avoid panic hiring: The wrong hire is worse than no hire. Bad hires come with a high price. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that a bad hire can cost companies at least 30% of that hire’s first-year earnings. Other HR agencies estimate the cost of a bad hire to range between $240,000 and $850,000 per employee. Although this is a wide range for what it may cost you, one thing is sure: it’s a high price.

Consider the costs (financial and otherwise) of a bad hire:

  • Recruitment costs
  • Onboarding
  • Negative impact on team performance
  • A decline in team morale
  • Loss of other employees
  • Disruption of projects
  • Lost or unhappy clients/customers
  • Weakened company brand

A bad apple can spoil the bunch; unfortunately, panic hiring makes it harder to identify the bad apple up front. That’s why it’s important to set up effective hiring processes to ensure candidates are aligned with the job requirements, culture and company goals.

Creating a successful hiring process

If you’re looking to create a standardized hiring process for the first time (or update your current process), here are a few steps to get you started:

  • Create and post the job announcement. Take some time to think about the open role’s needs, and then create an accurate job description. Use a combination of platforms to post the job opening, such as industry websites, job boards and social media platforms. Circulate the opening internally as well.
  • Review applications and conduct initial screenings. Once applications start coming in, narrow them down to a handful of candidates you want to consider. Conduct phone screen interviews and have applicants complete any other necessary screening tasks or tests.
  • Conduct interviews. Conduct your first and second (if applicable) rounds of interviews. Once you narrow down your top candidates, check references and run background checks.
  • Hire the best candidate. Extend the job offer to the candidate that is the best fit for the role and company you are hiring for. You will likely enter negotiations during this time, so be prepared to make reasonable accommodations for the right person. After the hiring process is complete, it’s time to start employee onboarding.

The next time you need to hire for an open position and feel anxious, take a deep breath and don’t panic. Revisit your standardized hiring methods so you can identify high-potential candidates. With these best practices, you can hire swiftly – and more importantly, you can hire effectively.

Chris Lennon contributed to the reporting and writing of this article

Skye Schooley
Staff Writer at
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.
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