Warning Signs of an Unqualified Employee

Mark Jankowski |

Unqualified Employee

As a business owner or leader you need the right people in the right roles to ensure your company’s success. Therefore you and your management team need to always be on the lookout for red flags that indicate someone isn’t a fit – either in their role or with the business. In order to assess whether or not an employee is qualified for their job, it can be helpful to look for these telltale-warning signs that they don’t have the right skill set:

1. The Person is Not Asking the Right Questions

When talking to the person about their role and responsibilities, are they asking the right questions, or are their concerns way off base? When you have a meeting about a project, is the person asking clear, relevant questions about the project, or are they beating around the bush? Is the person constantly coming to you or others to ask about very simple, basic things that the person should already know?

2.  Thinking Too Tactically and Not Strategically 

Is the person concerned more with execution than they are with planning for effective execution? The right person will put the emphasis on thinking strategically first, and then executing their strategy to complete a task. The wrong person will put all their effort into tactics – into executing without a plan. This shows a lack of understanding of their role. If a person isn’t planning, they likely don’t know how to best handle a task or care enough to do it well.

3. Resistance to Development

The right person should take every chance they get to grow themselves and develop as a professional. If you have an employee who doesn’t seem interested in professional development, you have reason for concern. An employee may even outright reject professional development opportunities, asking “Why do I need to change? I’m good enough.” “Good enough” should never be good enough: the best employees will always try to improve.

4. High Volume of Complaints

What are the person’s peers, subordinates, and supervisors saying about them? If the overwhelming feedback is negative, that’s a major warning sign. The right person should be able to demonstrate their value to all of their colleagues. If the organization is overall unimpressed, figure out why.

5. Having to Do Too Much of Their Job

Are you or other people in the company doing too much of a person’s job? Is the person constantly looking for large amounts of help on projects? If other people are doing most of an employee’s work for them, it is more than just a drain on productivity: it is a clear sign that your employee cannot handle their job. 

If you notice any of these warning signs when thinking about your employees, take some time to seriously evaluate whether or not that person belongs with your business. If you think you may be wearing blinders consider exploring an employee’s performance with an executive coach or peer group. An outside perspective can help CEOs look at an employee with unbiased eyes and to see past emotional reasons for keeping a person in a job that they are not qualified or inspired to do.

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Mark Jankowski

Mark Jankowski

Mark Jankowski brings a diverse background to his role as a CEOIQ Facilitator. After graduating from Harvard University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Mark has found himself in many roles, including Corporate Attorney, Investment Banking, Business Owner, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Negotiation Expert. Mark’s passion is helping people succeed in both their work and their personal lives, and CEOIQ Peer Advisory Groups provide the perfect platform to realize that goal.