10 types of employees you need to fire immediately

Hire slowly and fire quickly is a well-known business maxim. But when your agency is facing a talent shortage, it’s easy to fall into the reverse pattern, filling positions quickly and, worse, letting bad hires linger too long in your organization.


While it may seem harmless, keeping one bad apple can quickly have a greater impact on your organization than just one individual’s performance. A bad employee can:


  • Contribute to bad employee morale
  • Lower the productivity of other team members
  • Sabotage the success of policies and processes
  • Cause others to ignore safety rules and protocols
  • Damage your reputation with clients


Knowing the signs of a bad hire will help you quickly identify the employee who is a wrong fit and minimizes these consequences. Here are 10 types of employees quickly part ways with.

1.     The employee with “old job” syndrome. Past job experience should be a valuable asset for a new employee, but that experience can work against your business when someone is reverting to “how we did things at my old job.” Employees who feel that they always know better can undermine processes and policies that you have put in place for a reason. If a new employee is refusing to do things your way, show that person the door

2.     The all-day breaker. Breaks are important and offered for a reason. People need time to blow off steam and socialize with their colleagues, which ultimately contributes to a stronger culture and increased productivity. However, people who don’t differentiate between break times and the regular workday are not productive, whether they are checking Facebook in meetings, texting all day at their desks or making more personal phone calls than client ones. This employee does need a break – but a permanent one.

3.     The provoker. Disagreements among staff are often a positive and necessary function of organizational creativity and innovation. But constant arguments will cause rifts in your culture, especially if one person is always the instigator. If you are getting complaints about a new hire being pushy or confrontational with colleagues, the situation is not likely to change.

4.     The employee with time management issues. Punctuality and meeting deadlines are musts for any employee in a customer-facing role, and especially temporary staff who are representing your business. If a new hire is showing up tardy or unprepared, it may be time to tell that person to stop showing up at all.

5.     The blamer. Explanation or excuse, this person always has someone or something to blame for dropping the ball or producing less than quality work. Employees who don’t own up to their mistakes aren’t good team players, and as a result, won’t inspire the trust of your customers or their colleagues. Even the most talented employee isn’t worth breeding negativity to keep.

6.     The dishonest employee. This one is a no-brainer. Yet dishonest employees can be harder to pinpoint than other bad hires due to their attempts to be discreet about bad behavior. If you find out an employee is being untruthful or hiding things from supervisors or colleagues – even if they are small thing – trust your instincts and get to the bottom of it. If the lies continue to add up, it’s time for that employee to move on.

7.     The needy employee. Job negotiations should take place before a new employee comes on board. Yet some people wait to make additional asks after they are hired, from more vacation days to a better computer and a bigger expense account. Those who always needs one more thing to accomplish a job and can’t work with the resources at their disposal aren’t a good fit.

8.     The distractor. Distractions are everywhere, from funny cat videos in your inbox to friends updating their Twitter feeds. The only thing worse than the person who is easily distracted (see the employee who is always on break) is the person who distracts other people from getting things done. Is the new woman always stopping by for a “quick” 30-minute chat or encouraging other employees to leave early or take a longer lunch break?

9.     The box checker. You might overhear the box checker say things like, “I’m just building my resume,” or “I only want to be here for a year.” This person is using his or her position as a steppingstone to bigger and better things. This is fine for some organizations, but if you’re looking for a long-term team member who is going to contribute to your growth, there are better people to invest your time and money into.

10.  The bad attitude. This person comes with a stellar resume and great references, and is probably likeable. But within weeks, he or she is complaining about everything from the schedule to the manager to the office coffee. A bad attitude is contagious and isn’t likely to improve, and firing quickly is critical to keeping your culture healthy and positive.


Sometimes making a bad hire is unavoidable, not matter how much due diligence you’ve done. The important thing is to recognize when someone is a bad fit and be honest about it, so both parties can move on.