Interviews: Qualities to Look in a New Hire

  | 5 min read
qualities new hire

For every employer, high turnover and constant hiring is a daunting and costly task. This has contributed to the need for businesses to not only retain good employees, but to make good hires. As an employer, you want to get the best talent in the market to assist your business achieve its strategic goals. So how do you ensure that you minimize toxic hires that cause havoc in the team and leave prematurely? The secret lies in the interviews and how you conduct them. Below are qualities to look for in a new hire and the red flags to look out for.


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You can gauge a candidate’s commitment by looking through their resume and the time they stayed with their previous employers. Turnover is an expensive affair and you wouldn’t want to be seated at the same table a few months from the interview session looking for another candidate to fill the same position. A candidate who keeps job-hopping is probably looking for something elusive in their job environments. Chances are they will not find what they are looking for in your company and will soon be on their quest again. You need commitment and steadfastness. Their resumes will show this.

The reason for their leaving can also shed light. Someone who whines of how they were treated unfairly is a red flag you should look out for. For fresh graduates, look out for incomplete internships or attachments.


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Forget the embellished resume and the cliché words the candidate may be using to answer your interview questions. The real question you should ask yourself as the interviewer is, “can this candidate perform?” The way to answer this is getting an insight on their capability. Probe further into their success stories and professional achievements to hear how they achieved and what role exactly they played in achieving such success. Your back ground checks on them should also provide sufficient evidence for their achievements.

Right Fit

Your interaction with the candidate should help you determined whether or not they would be a valuable fit in your organizations. Apart from the skills and experience they might bring, you should be able to tell whether or not they fit in your organization’s culture. You want additional members that will stir the team to attain their goals, not cause friction and tension in the team. Compatibility with the existing team is key. Read their body language for signs of prejudice to any member of the interview panel. Ask uncomfortable questions like what they liked least about their previous jobs to hear if they have the ability to rise above personal feelings to accomplish set goals.

You will also want to know the candidate’s opinion on teamwork. Do they mention teamwork in their achievement stories? Do they give credit to their colleagues or does it sound like a one-man-show to you? Listen to the unspoken. It holds more truth than what is being voiced.

Ambition and Motivation

As an employer, you want a team addition that will be bubbling with ideas, come up with better problem solving techniques and basically push your company forward. No one want to employ a lazy employee who always needs to be reminded what is expected of them. You can gauge motivation by asking them what they are bringing on board, what they hope to achieve or change or why you should employ them. A self-motivated candidate will have gone through your website and has already envisioned how their role plays into the success of your business. Ambition can be gauged by the projection they give of where they hope to be in the next 2 or 5 years. Vague or ambiguous answers are an indication that they haven’t given much thought to this matter. You need a candidate that seeks to grow within your company because growth for them ultimately means growth for you company.

First Impressions

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How do you feel about the candidate the first five minutes? Do you like them? Are they courteous? Did they arrive on time? Is their dressing and grooming appropriate? If a candidate does not impress you the first few minutes of interaction, chances are they won’t impress anyone either in your company. While this may sound harsh and may not be 100% foolproof, most times your gut feeling is right. While some instances like nervousness are minor and can be ignored, a candidate who is rude or untidy shouldn’t be taken lightly. How will they behave when they get comfortable and loosen up? It’s going to be a circus in your company! Define your own lines and decide what you consider slight mistakes and completely unacceptable conduct, then apply it.

Don’t beat yourself up

Even the most seasoned human resource managers make poor hiring decisions. It is always a learning curve, so do not beat yourself up when you make an occasional poor hire. Learn the lessons and apply them in the next hiring session. With time, your company will have the right team to help push it to success.

Red flags to look out for

Resume: inconsistency, gaps, short job stints, typos, poor grammar

First Impression: lateness, poor grooming, rudeness to support staff e.g guards and receptionist, lies and exaggerations

Toxic hire: Complains and whines a lot, seems to be blaming everything on third party

High maintenance: Expect people to bend over to please them, they are not ready to go the extra mile, complains about being kept waiting for too long e.t.c

Get the Best Match Today

Find the right fit for your role today at BrighterMonday. We offer a rich mix of bespoke HR technology and experts to ensure you get the right fit. Hire with us today.





Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.


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