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What to consider when hiring new employees

1st April 2021

Finding the perfect person for your role isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s hard to attract quality applications. Sometimes it’s a battle to shortlist. Other times, it’s just about finding the time to go through the recruitment process.

You already know you need a candidate with a few skills – maybe the skills are specific to the role, or maybe they’re more general interpersonal skills. Characteristics like adaptability, attitude and accountability would be great to have in your team, too. And, of course, they should have a great work ethic and represent your business well. But identifying the applicants who have those attributes isn’t always straightforward.

Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook someone because their qualifications, background or skills profile don’t reflect what you thought you needed. So how can you uncover those diamonds in the rough without spending hours bogged down in applications? Shifting your perspective can often be the first step in diversifying your team and setting your business up for success.

Does experience matter in a job?

The short answer is yes, of course it does. But is it more important than potential?

Traditionally, work experience is the defining factor that decides whether or not a candidate is successful. But there are many benefits to hiring someone with less experience, such as:

  • Fewer bad habits and preconceptions – someone with less experience but a great attitude and the willingness to learn is a great opportunity for you to train them in the way you want things done; no need to unlearn bad habits before getting started!
  • Loyalty to your business – when you give someone the chance they’ve been waiting for, it is a big deal. As long as you treat them well once they’re in the role, you’re likely to see the benefits from high retention rates and productivity.
  • Fresh perspective – a new set of eyes never goes astray, especially in smaller operations where one person might be responsible for many tasks.

With the right support, enthusiastic candidates can progress quickly to upskill and exceed your expectations.

How to hire for potential: The right candidate will tailor their application based on any experience they do have, ask questions throughout the interview, actively engage in all areas of the business and be open to any opportunity that gives them the chance to broaden their experience.

There’s no “i” in team

We’ve all heard the old saying – team work makes the dream work, right? Team work is at the foundation of any successful business. When colleagues clash, significant time is lost to conflict, and the effects of tension and infighting are felt widely throughout any business.

Making sure your candidate has the interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and navigate working life is an important part of any recruitment process. Finding a candidate who has the ability to collaborate with people who have different opinions, skill sets and experience is also good sign that you have found a team player.

A team player will enhance your business by:

  • Lifting the spirits of their colleagues;
  • Working with others to achieve business goals;
  • Contributing to office duties where appropriate; and
  • Sharing knowledge freely.

How to hire a team player: The right candidate will showcase their interpersonal skills throughout their application documents, be respectful of people from different backgrounds to themselves, treat others with kindness and credit ideas and efforts accordingly.

Adapt and overcome

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being able to roll with the punches. Selecting a candidate who is adaptable and able to embrace change is key to the positive evolution of your business. Candidates who show that they can be agile in times of transformation or high stress are the people who will ensure your business survives and thrives throughout any challenges.

It’s also important to remember that resilience and adaptability look different for every person, and every person has been shaped by unique experiences. Consider recent lockdowns – some people coped by learning new skills like cooking, languages or crafts, while others just kept life as normal as possible within the new constraints. Neither approach was necessarily better, but resilience can shine through in many ways, so stay open to hearing how others have tackled tough times in their life.

How to hire for adaptability: At some point throughout your hiring process, strike up a conversation about tough times. Hearing how someone talks about getting through challenges will give you insight into their approach to resilience, as well as their own self-awareness.


Being held accountable for mistakes or results can be a scary thing. People may fear consequences, or have concerns about being tarred forever by their mistake. But employees who don’t fear failure and are brave enough to own poor results or mistakes are extremely valuable. It means they have the ability to cope with setbacks and grow from their past experiences.

But identifying people who won’t squirm and shift blame under pressure can be tricky, especially when you’re time-poor and sifting through a pile of applications as big as your coffee cup.

How to hire for accountability: Look for people who openly admit any weaknesses or skill gaps, incorporate questions around previous mistakes into your interview questions, and probe deeper into what actions they take after recognising that something has not gone to plan.

Still not sure where to start? We can help you find the right person for the job.

HELP has a network of pre-qualified candidates to help employers find the right person for the job. Our free and comprehensive service supports you every step of the way from shortlisting candidates and pre-employment training, to post employment support to ensure long term, sustainable results.

To find out more about HELP Employment and how to find the perfect candidate for your vacancy, visit our Find Staff page, or get in touch with us by calling 1800 VACANCY.