Hire slow but fire fast!

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.


How do I find the right employees to fit my culture, growth, and technical expertise needed with a limited highly skilled/specialized labor pool?


Thanks for the great question!

When doing ANY hiring, you always need to first start with yourself.

Are you the right person to do the hiring? Be honest.

Do you have a poor track record of turn over within your business?

Businesses lose money every time they have to fire and hire, so at times, it's often less time consuming and more cost effective to turn to a professional to assist you in hiring.

They are skilled at not only knowing what questions to ask you to make sure you attract qualified people, but also what questions to ask the potential employee.

An outside service can be more objective and know how to “read between the lines” in an interview so that only qualified people who will match your culture make the cut.

If you feel like you are the person to do the hiring, sit down and make a list of all the qualities and skills you're looking for in the “right” person.

Be specific. When hiring you want to be able to clearly explain both “duties” and expectations.

My friend Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com always encourages people to hire slow and fire fast.

I couldn't agree more.

If you find that you are still having difficulty finding the right position to fill a role in the company, you may need to take a long hard look at why you are attracting the situation.

Are you keeping yourself the bottle neck in your company so as to stay hidden or not have to take risks to grow?

Do you have issues with trusting someone else to do a job that you know you can do well?

Remember, everything starts with you, so the more clear and honest you can be with yourself and others, the easier that position will be to fill.

“Just Believe”,®

PS: The Neagle Code: DIRECTIONS for LIFE is a weekly no-cost program that is open to everyone! Each week, I'll select and personally respond to one question received via the above “The Neagle Code” page that I feel in my heart will help the most people. (You may choose to remain anonymous if you wish, with our full support.) It is my deep, heartfelt intention that ~ in answering your questions ~ I may provide you with the Universal Truths that in committed application, will set you free. Simply submit YOUR burning question at: www.TheNeagleCode.com to participate.

PPS: May I ask you to help me spread the word about this program? Is there someone you care for who is stuck, or struggling, or lost, or unhappy? Because if so, I would very much like to help. No matter their question, no matter their predicament, no matter if they've never heard of me before … if they would like to ask for help via www.TheNeagleCode.com, my Team and I will do our very best to provide that help.


  1. In my experience my biggest bottleneck is sales. You point out so rightly that until i can reliably sell my service and generate revenue I allow myself to do everything myself and I resist spending money on outside help.

    • I love that Angela, we all need that ‘circle’! My team is exactly that for me, and because of them I am able to do what I do so effortlessly. We inspire each other to be better each and every day, and because of that we inspire others. I appreciate the post.

  2. I appreciate sharpening my awareness on this point: hire slowly, fire fast. It feels like a principle that might apply in various aspects of life and business — plan carefully, execute quickly…. Will ponder this. Thanks as always, David.

  3. Oh my Gosh, David! You are right on track with this post!!!

    Too often buisness owners try to hire, being unaware of things like rater bias, leading questions, and costs involved when they replace someone. It’s true, businesses lose money every time they have to fire and hire. According to SHRM, the cost to replace one $8.00/hour position is $3,500. There are not many business owners who have $8.00/hour people, so multiply that and you can begin to see the exponential costs involved. And for specialized positions, it can be up to 400% more! Add on to that the lost productivity of both the new hire and the business owner, and the costs keep adding up quickly!

    Attracting qualified people is key to putting the right people in the right position. It may take a bit longer to ensure they are a great fit (hire slow), but it is well worth it when you see the results once they are in place. Our clients find that the fee they have paid is quickly recouped with the right person in place. It frees the business owner up to focus on what they do best – growing the business and working with ideal clients.

    • Exactly Tracey, and I love that you reiterate the fact that finding the right fit for your organization is crucial. Getting those right people in place through a thorough hiring process definitely helps the bottom line and saves you some very big headaches later. I appreciate your knowledge here.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with David’s question about whether you’re the best person to do the hiring.

    A major mistake I’ve seen self-employed people make, and hands up I’ve made it myself on two occasions, is to look at the people already in your life, or at least on your radar, and start convincing yourself they might be right to fill a role in your business, on the basis they have some related skills and hey, you like them. Maybe they like your work as well, so initially it seems right to give them the break.

    I won’t smother this reply with anecdotes but I’ve seen this go wrong often enough that from now onwards when I need paid help I’ve vowed to myself to keep that hiring process clean and fresh, and not try to shape people I’ve already met into the niches I happen to have available.

    Based on experience, I believe this will spare me much of the disappointment and confusion that can result, as someone tries their honest best to fill a role no objective onlooker would ever have considered hiring them for in the first place.

    • That is great awareness for you Miss C, and it sounds like putting it into practice will work well for you. Find the right fit with someone who can get the job done, all the while freeing you up to do what you need to do to hit your growth targets. That is a step in the right direction. I appreciate the post.

  5. After hearing your friend, Tony Hsieh, give that advice, David, at one of your events I heard stats claiming that it takes 9 month to release employees (or fire, as is commonly said). Looking at my history I saw that that was spot on! Excellent advice on both sides: HIRE SLOWLY — FIRE QUICKLY.