How To Live Happily Ever After With Your Employees

Forever is a long time when you hire the wrong employee--here's how not to make that blunder.

How is it that the employee you once fell in love with is now someone you can’t stand having around? During the courting stages of the interviewing process, this candidate swept you off your feet. In fact, you couldn’t believe she picked you from among a sea of other suitors. Now that you’ve been together for a while you are second guessing if indeed you made the right decision when you asked that fateful question, “Will you work for me?”

Job seekers are always on the best behavior when they pursuing their perfect match. You probably are as well. Your job as the interviewer is to make the candidate comfortable enough so that he or she will reveal who they really are before you get too far down that aisle with one another. I also tell my clients to unveil their true selves so that candidates can assess if the fit is there for them.

All is fair in love, right?

Well, not exactly.

Overexaggerating what you bring to the table is the wrong way to go. You may think you are going to be the next Google, but let me tell you, so does every one else. Why not simply be who you are? A startup with lots of potential. This way you’ll attract candidates who are risk takers rather than those who are gold diggers.

Honesty has to start with you. Would you want some guy telling your kid sister that he’s going to make her a millionaire when he can’t even get a loan without his mother’s signature? It’s OK to bootstrap your company. Just don’t lie about it in order to attract some unsuspecting person who has a low tolerance for risk.

Know what you are looking for prior to courting. 

The relationships that last the longest are those where both parties have taken the time to identify exactly what they are looking for. If you are planning to only take this plunge once, then make sure you’ve got the right person jumping into the deep end with you. Otherwise you will both drown.

Look around you and identify the traits of those in your organization whom you’ve had a successful relationship with. You’ll soon notice there are many common threads. Pull those out and seek those traits in your new office mates.

Don’t be blinded by love at first site. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when Mr. or Ms. Perfect walks into the room. Our palms get sweaty and we begin the conversation with the end game in mind. We lose all focus and can’t remember what actually was said during our time together. We know we have found the one and nothing anyone says will change our minds.

If you are going to spend a good part of your waking day with this person, then it makes sense to get another opinion. Ask someone you trust to meet this person to see if they agree with what your heart is telling you. Be open to the possibility that you may need more time together before making such an important decision.

Communicate. 

Communication is key to the success of any relationship. Taking one another for granted and making assumptions can lead one to counseling before the honeymoon period is over. If you’ve committed to pairing up, then you must be prepared to do the work. This means telling someone you are not happy with him or her when they’ve disappointed you and letting them know when they’ve done something that has made your day.

Communication is a two-way street and you must be prepared to hear feedback as well, or this one sided relationship could very well end badly. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you note a breakdown in communication. A trusted coach can help both parties quickly get their relationship back on track.

Keeping employees long-term who are fully committed takes work. But it sure beats the alternative of moving on only to find the best person for you was the one you had all along.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (yourhrexperts.com) and author of Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters. Register today for Roberta’s free Profitability Accelerator Teleconference Series.

[Image: Flickr user San Diego Shooter]

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