Everybody Makes Mishires

Sign Up For Weekly Tips! Get Trevor’s Weekly Tips Straight To Your Inbox!

I made my first important hire when I was a young executive in a growing business.  I had to find a manager for a failing corporate store that was bleeding cash.  The CEO of the company was absolutely manic to get the problem solved, and I felt the pressure to find a solution – fast.

We had no hiring procedures, so I posted an ad and began interviewing candidates. On my second interview, I hit an absolute goldmine; the candidate was a gift straight from heaven, and on only my second try, too!  Nobility forced me to keep it to myself, but I could see that I was pretty good – perhaps a prodigy – at hiring.

He had run a group of retail stores out east in a turn-around situation and built them into a highly profitable chain.  He’d been a gift to other businesses too, tapping them gently with his golden wand of business-fairy success dust, and turning them from losers to gems of productivity and profit.

He was older now and looking for something fun to do.  Obviously he didn’t need to work, and hated to stoop to discuss anything so beneath his notice as a salary, because he had been so successful at everything that he had tried and as a result was independently wealthy; but he thought that probably a high one would make sense as a matter of principle.

I assumed he would donate it to a worthy charity or walk around downtown Vancouver distributing it to the homeless or maybe just use it to start campfires as he sat at his cabin reflecting with unaffected wonder on the success that was his life.

He was engaging and funny and said everything that I could possibly have hoped to hear.  None of this raised a flag in my naïve, cherubic, rosy-cheeked head, nor had I read Mark Twain deeply enough to know that this guy came straight out of “Life on the Mississippi” written over 100 years before our interview.  In other worse, I was a rube.

As he left the room he coyly mentioned that he had some other interviews to go to and hinted that he would probably take whatever was offered to him first.  There was no internet back then, and I toyed with the idea of going through the whole laborious process of checking his story and his references.  A moment’s reflection told me that he would be would be immediately hired when he went to his next interview, so on impulse, I caught him just as he was walking out our front door and hired him on the spot.

I felt great, knowing that I had found the silver bullet that would fix the store and (secondarily of course) make me a legend in the process.  Although it didn’t roll out in quite the way I had envisioned, in the end, he did give me legend status of a sort that took me a long time to live down.

After he had been in the store for a few days, I began hearing strange stories coming from the staff.  He wasn’t showing up in the store, he was telling lies to customers, and was flaky and unreliable.  The assistant manager told me frankly that ‘she hated this guy.’  How could she hate my 63 year old bald boy wonder?  I couldn’t sleep at night wondering if perhaps I had made a hiring mistake on my very first try.

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long to find out.  One night before closing, he left a deposit bag in his office, broke into his own store from an upper window and attempted to walk across the T-bar ceiling to steal the store’s cash.  He crashed through the ceiling tile onto the concrete floor fifteen feet below, set off the store alarm, and was hauled away by ambulance called by police after they investigated the alarm.  Not only was he a criminal, but he was a stupid criminal, and I had fallen for his outrageous story.

I was furious at myself and embarrassed that I’d been played for a sucker by a conman, and only wished that it had been a hearse instead of an ambulance that gave him his ride home for the night.

Two points today:

  1. Do your due diligence.  Check resumes for accuracy.  Phone all references. Take your time.
  2. We all make hiring mistakes.  The smart ones among us take our time hiring, and when we make mistakes, we fix them fast (within three months).
Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.
Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.