Andy Trattner

November 2, 2023

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

It's a very useful statement.

Tiger recommended this philosophy to me over a year ago. Since then, I've hired over a dozen people across my startups and had to let a handful go as well.

Yesterday, I onboarded two new hires to my team at Shuffle. One is backfilling an under-performer I had to fire a couple weeks back within 24 hours of a high-escalation incident. The mantra rings more true each day.

Two of the main reasons to fire someone:
  1. The company has changed radically from initial hiring conditions.
  2. You made a mistake hiring them in the first place.

I suspect the latter is far more common. Interestingly, it encompasses performance issues. People with the right attitude and fit—screened appropriately—won't have performance issues!

Another way to think about it: firing someone means accepting and owning a mistake you made. 

This framing helps me see how firing someone is not necessarily mean or cruel. Rather, it's a demonstration of my willingness to avoid sunk-costs. To serve the company's best interests—for my future self and all other teammates, shareholders, customers, etc—above my personal pride, ego, and emotional issues.

I have yet to regret firing someone (quickly).

About Andy Trattner