1. You start to wonder if you hired an A or not.
The first symptom is thoughts of doubt that start to cross your mind. In other words, your new employee’s performance out of the gate is not as good as you expected. You have a tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt because you don’t want to admit you made a bad hire, and you don’t want to go through the hiring process all over again. You have the altruistic urge to try and fix them. Keep in mind, this is hard to do. They still may turn around, but there is a good reason you are getting that gut feeling! Be sure to immediately coach them up to your expectations and try to get them on track.
2. They are slower to learn than you expected.
Quite frankly, they don’t appear to be as sharp at picking up their new position as you would have expected. You scratch your head as they are not picking up on the concepts they talked about so eloquently in the interview. A Players are fast learners, so this is a red flag if they are not. In fact, A Players hit the ground immediately and are up to speed and contributing in a few short weeks.
3. They talk about their past, rather than drive the future.
The new employee tends to talk an excessive amount about how things were done at their old company. This is a surefire indicator of a B or C Player. A Players have a current and future outlook, and they drive business by using their past experiences, almost invisibly, on these new initiatives.
4. They are error-prone.
They make an excessive amount of careless mistakes out of the gate. Think about it this way: this is the time they should want to make their absolute best impression as a new employee. If they are making careless errors now, it will only get worse down the road.
5. They make a lot of excuses and place blame.
When you do catch errors or find their performance lacking, they will make a lot of excuses and place blame on other people and systems. This is an early warning sign that they are lacking in character in this critical area. Really look out for this negative trait. It is a hallmark indicator of a B or C Player and shows that they are fundamentally not an accountable person. It is very hard, if not impossible, to reprogram accountability into a person. If this trend continues, terminate immediately.
6. You are not getting great unsolicited feedback from others.
Colleagues who work with your new hire are asking you how your new person is doing. This is another huge red flag of a mis-hire. If coworkers are asking you how your new person is doing and not providing unsolicited positive feedback, this is a definite sign your new person is not the A Player you are looking for.
Keeping an eye on these 6 leading indicators in the first few days and weeks of your new hire’s employment is critical in determining if you have an A Player or not. Be very clear on your expectations in these and other related areas, and provide candid coaching to them. The A Player will welcome your constructive feedback while the B or C Player will try to avoid or divert these conversations. In the event that you have mis-hired a B or C Player, cut your losses immediately by terminating them and restart your candidate pool acquisition.