How to Know When a New Hire Isn't Working Out

The easiest way to know that a new hire isn’t working out (and not fool yourself in the process) is to have a plan before they are hired. A job description and 30/60/90 plan are important tools to clarify what you expect this person to do and the key milestones to get there. Without them, you will confuse yourself and it’s unfair to the people you hire—feedback will feel arbitrary and unfair.

When the new hire onboards, use the 30/60/90 to anchor all feedback. Assess their progress by sharing written feedback and make adjustments you both agree to. If they are not hitting their goals or it’s obvious they will be unable to take over a key responsibility of their role, it’s time to part ways.

How do you evaluate a job role you’ve never managed before?

Often times at a startup, you will be hiring people that you do not have any background in or prior experience managing. Rather than try to derive the job from first principles talk to 3-5 experts in the area about what you think you need and what they believe a great person in that role would look like. You can stop when you start hearing the same thing from multiple people.

Use this information to inform recruiting (job description, what recruiters should screen for, what profiles to target), interviewing (key areas to evaluate in interviews), and onboarding (30/60/90 plan).