Pamela Nabors | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Pamela Nabors

Background:  

CareerSource Central Florida is a public-private agency that develops and trains workforce talent for Central Florida businesses.

The Mistake:

I hired a second choice for a critical position based on desperation. The position was key and critical to the organization, and it was absent when I came into the role. I went through a very thorough search and the top candidate was excellent. I offered it to the person, who accepted, and then three days later she bailed out. 

So I felt very desperate – and like I needed to have this critical position [filled] – and that I wouldn’t be able to make some significant changes without it. I had another candidate, who my gut had told me was not the right candidate, but I was in what I felt was a critical situation. So I went ahead and hired the person. That person had technical skills that matched the job description but wasn’t really a good culture fit for the organization.

I felt that I had backed myself into a corner to some degree like I had set an unrealistic deadline. So the frantic feeling I had to hire someone for the role ended up costing me – in time to implement the changes and also in trust and capital with the other leaders and staff. The person left not quite a year into her tenure.

First, trust your gut about a person and their fit for the job. 

The Lesson:

Then I had the opportunity to think things through. I didn’t change the job description, but I did take my time and develop a process where I felt very sure about the candidate – as sure as I did about the original candidate.

The lesson is really twofold. First, trust your gut about a person and their fit for the job. And also, treat that [hiring] process at the level of importance it really is. [Don't] let a time crunch or pressure force a decision that’s not right. Having the right person in a position of really critical importance in an organization is fundamental to having the right team and to getting things done – and getting them done in a way that’s aligned with your mission and vision. So never feel backed into a corner.

I also encourage my team to do the same thing because down the line when critical staff positions are vacant, sometimes managers will feel compelled to fill the position. And I’ve learned from this example. It’s not getting a body in the position; it’s getting the right body.

Follow CareerSource Central Florida on Twitter at @CareerSourceCF

Pictured: Pamela Nabors / Courtesy of Pamela Nabors

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