5 Things You Should Look for in a New Employee


The right employees can make the difference between a happy, harmonious workplace and one that’s tense and unproductive. That’s why it’s so important to find the right people who fit into your workplace’s culture, but this can be tough. Here are some things you should look for in a new employee.

  1. A good initial application

When you post a job advert online, you will get a lot of responses. You can filter out people who don’t have the minimum requirements by asking a few basic questions, but you should then look at the individual applications carefully. Don’t just shortlist the people with the most experience or highest qualifications if they’ve put no effort into the application. Ideally, you want to find people who have written a personalized covering letter than explains their suitability for the role and who clearly have an interest in the role.

2. A portfolio showing what they can do

Reading the skills someone has on their resume is one thing, but being able to see a portfolio of work is better. Portfolios aren’t just for creatives, all sorts of professionals use them to showcase the work they’ve done, so don’t be afraid to ask for one as part of the hiring process.

3. Good references

Many employees no longer bother chasing up references, but it is a good idea to do so if you have the time. References are important because:

  • They confirm that people worked for an organization during certain dates
  • They are a good way to catch out potential employees who have exaggerated their experience or position
  • You can get a basic idea of what the person is like as an employee
  • You can ask basic questions about their reliability, sick record and any disciplinary issues, which can throw up red flags

There are lots of tips out there about what questions to ask when seeking references, so it’s worth putting together a template to send out via e-mail. Remember, you’re getting in touch with people who may be busy or dealing with lots of requests, so keep it short and snappy.

4. Enthusiasm for the role

When people come in for an interview, you will want to see that they’re enthusiastic and passionate about the role. Find out what they know about the company; this will show whether they’ve done pre-interview research. Also, take note of how they act and speak during the interview. You will soon see whether they’re really enthusiastic and whether they want the job.

5. Ambition and long-term thinking

There’s a good reason why interviewers ask the question, ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ It allows you to identify the employees that will stick with the company and those who are more flighty. If interviewees answer that they want to be running the place or they want your job, beware — unless you want someone who is a bit of a shark. Ideally, they should give you an answer along the lines of sticking with the company, but having more responsibilities or moving into a managerial role.

Finding the right person for the job isn’t easy, so make a list of what your company values the most and you’re more likely to find someone who is the right fit.

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