Hiring Mistakes

What is more frustrating and defeating than making a hiring mistake? We recently came to the realization that we really messed up. A stylist with 2 years experience did a stellar technical interview then aced her practice/training haircuts. We put her on the floor in time for the holiday rush and – wow- how could we have misread the situation so terribly.
We took her off the floor and set up one-on-one time with our trainer. Our trainer had to go into serious remedial training. It was like she had no idea how to cut hair. And she didn’t seem to see that the cuts were bad…as if her eyes didn’t see the weight lines…it never occured to her to taper sideburns…it was a disaster. After two intensive days full of haircuts on live models our trainer was exhausted (so was the stylist) and still gave her cuts just a 6 out of 10. The following week we put her with our salon manager for additional cutting training followed by another day with the trainer. By the time it was over she had done 20 training cuts and was still a solid 6-6.5. To add insult to injury she didn’t seem to retain any of the instruction she had been given.

Clearly we messed up. But what do you do at this point? We misjudged her skills and based on our job offer she left a steady job at a chain salon. Had we assessed her skills accurately she never would have gotten an offer.
Sadly, we are at the point now, where as a small company with limited resources, we cannot invest any more in trying to get her on the floor. We need stylists to be farther along than she is. I feel terrible that we are going to let her go and will be offering generous severence to ease my guilt.

Have you had a similar experience? How did you handle a hiring mistake?