RECOGNISE this scenario? An employee is hired urgently to handle overwhelming volumes of work and in the haste, thorough checks are not conducted to ensure that the employee is a good fit. The result?

* No action, talk only

The tongue-in-cheek acronym, NATO, has been making its rounds at work places and refers to employees who have a lot to say, but do not achieve tangible results.

A poor hire such as this will produce below average, minimal or even negative results. The person may not be competent enough to pull his weight and this may create inefficiencies and a further backlog of work, which someone else will have to clean up.

* Blow to staff morale

If the employee has undesirable qualities or a personality that clashes with others in the workplace, chances are that staff morale will be affected.

Negativity and pessimism can spread like wildfire, so watch out for toxic personalities. Their ability to infect the office is powerful.

* Opportunity cost

Instead of producing results, which he was hired to do, a bad hire will not only waste your company's time, effort and resources, he will also make it easier for your competitor to race ahead of you.

Meanwhile, you have to sort out the mess he creates and leaves behind.

Avoid the costly, time-wasting exercise of hiring the wrong individual with the following pointers.

1. Assess the candidate's psychological make-up

You need to ensure that the candidate has the right type of personality and character so that he will easily gel with the company's culture and the team he joins.

Perhaps the organisation has a family-like environment characterised by a lot of caring and sharing. In this case, you won't want someone who is self-centred and only cares about his own performance and results.

Further, is the candidate open to feedback or does he react defensively? Individuals who have an open style of communication get along more easily with others and are a pleasure to work with, thus contributing positively to the overall morale in the workplace.

Psychological tools like personality tests will reveal a person's psychological make-up, what motivates him, his personality type, the convictions he has and even his energy levels.

2. Conduct reference checks

In addition to the standard reference checks provided by the candidate, it is also wise to find out what his ex-employees have to say about him.

Third-party references - those who have had a prior working relationship with the individual but are not necessarily the references provided by the candidate - will clue you in on the working style he will be bringing to your workplace.

While you can go to great lengths to try to find the right individual, the rule of thumb if you want to err on the side of caution is: if in doubt, don't hire. It is better not to fill the position than to risk hiring the wrong candidate and waste the most critical resource of any company - time.