Do You Hire Faster Than You Fire?

donald trump apprentice

The other night we saw the wild looking, and often confused actor Gary Busey get fired off of “The Apprentice” much to the relief of his celebrity teammates after weeks of what appeared to be sheer frustration in trying to work with him.  

Donald Trump has made the phrase,“You’re fired!” a popular cultural slogan.  It’s no doubt that “The Donald” has the art of firing down to a science.  

But in my opinion the popular show is really not about firing. The Apprentice” series is all about hiring the right person and leader – over a period of several weeks and months.  Most companies don’t vet their people long enough, but spend more time trying to train, adapt and work around the miserable people that never should have been hired in the first place.

Most organisations rush the hiring process trying to make a square peg fit into any shape hole they can. They give the new leader responsibilities on the spot…with absolutely no authority. They reserve authority for a while waiting on the new person to earn it. Authority should be earned, but not after being given responsibility. 

Have you ever had a job with responsibilities and no authority? Did you like it? Of course not. Yet that is how most people view the hiring process. They are quick to delegate work and slow, very slow to dole out authority. Why? Because they didn’t bother to learn enough about the new person to build trust in their leadership during the vetting process.

If you have a bunch of people that you have worked with for several years and can’t trust them, it isn’t their fault.  You are the boss. You are paying them to go behind your back to either satisfy the customers or do what you wouldn’t approve of. If you hired them in the first place to take authority in your absence, then you would be not only rewarding them, but yourself as well.

Now that you are fed up with your managers’ productivity, you can’t bring yourself to show them the door.  Look at what Donald Trump does  He allows his “prospects” to try out certain very public tasks with the understanding that they are vying for a job. No one whom they come in contact with says, “Trump has a bunch of slouches working for him.” They know these major stars (OK, most are major stars or former ones) aren’t the policy-makers of the Trump organisation, so they allow for them to make mistakes. One time.

When leaders show they can take on authority, it frees you up to do more, think more and be more creative with the organisation. It allows you to take a breath, an evaluation and a much needed vacation.  You are penalising yourself with every new hire because now you have more to manage. No wonder leaders burn out early.

What if you spent your time in the hiring process testing people on the authority you want to give them, rather than how many responsibilities they can handle? Would you hire a leader who delegated and directed so well that you wouldn’t worry about how they handled staff, customers, purchasing or any responsibility you gave them down the road? I think it would make the process more enriching and creative for the CEO or HR manager to watch who does the job best.

It is amazing how we are drawn to reality shows that are basically about getting a job (American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and Celebrity Apprentice), then we go back to our old habits of wasting time on assisting bad hires keep a job. Maybe if you view the hiring process as an opportunity to surrender authority that is wasting your present time, you would be more careful who you hired…and spend less time firing them.

Jim Mathis, CSP is The Reinvention Strategist™ , an international Certified Speaking Professional and author of the soon to be released book, Reinvent Yourself – The Simple Steps to Dominate Your Market. To subscribe to his free personal and professional development newsletter, please send an email to: [email protected] with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Jim and his programs can benefit your organisation or group, please call 888-688-0220, or visit his web site: