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How to know if you've made the right hire

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

No business sets out to make a bad hire. However, between the first application and the last interview, it’s extraordinarily easy to make a mistake. Whether interactions with Candidates start to shift the original requirements or you have so much on your plate that you rush through the process, it’s not uncommon for managers to find themselves questioning their decision once an offer is accepted.

Having spent significant time sourcing, screening and selecting talent to join your team, the last thing you want is to be forced to start again. Not only can the costs rack up from loss of productivity, but increased staff churn could have a negative impact on your culture. That said, there’s no use keeping someone you know isn’t right for the role just to save time and costs in the short-term. If people are your most valuable asset, it’s essential to have the right ones in place.

If you have enlisted new talent to meet demand during a particularly busy period, you may not have had the chance to thoroughly assess their suitability for the role. Once the dust has settled, it’s time to determine whether your hiring decision was the right one - but what are the tell-tale signs?


New hires should be willing to go the extra mile in proving their dedication; they should be eager to impress and fully on-board with the company’s vision. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay late every night or take work home, but your new recruit should show a hunger to participate and contribute in achieving key objectives. If this sounds like your new hire, you’re in luck.

Of course, their level of commitment will, to some extent, depend on your ability to sell the vision. If you don’t give them a reason to commit, it’s likely their interest will dwindle over time. If you’ve succeeded in securing talent, it’s usually because the Candidate in question is intrigued and enticed by the opportunity: should they fail to show this attitude three months down the line, keeping them around another three months will only be to the detriment of your culture and productivity.


You know you’ve made the right hire when a new Employee is constantly impressing you by finding solutions to recurring problems and harnessing the skills listed on their CV to achieve business goals. Similarly, it’s not hard to see when an Employee is completely out of their depth and struggling with the tasks they previously claimed to be the bread and butter of their experience.

Pre-Employment skills tests are often a good way to separate the high-performers from the white-liars, but at this stage, having an honest conversation with your new recruit about their skill-level will help to shed light on the situation. If they are eager to stay but require training, the decision will be yours to make as to whether you believe the return will be worth the investment.


An Employee who completes their tasks to a certain standard is undoubtedly a valuable asset to any business. However, an Employee who takes initiative and completes these tasks to a high standard without being told is even better. If your new recruit constantly takes initiative and gets it right rather than waiting for orders, you’re onto a winner.

If, however, you’ve found within the first few weeks since hiring them that your new recruit has a negative attitude, this is a trait that should not be ignored – after all, you don’t need a domino effect in your business because of one bad hire. How they approach each challenge should be a good indicator as to whether you made the right choice.

Cultural fit

According to data from the REC, over eight in 10 (85%) of HR decision-makers admit their organisation has made a bad hire, and nearly four in ten (39%) Employers admit that their interviewing and assessment skills for Candidates needs improving. Of course, it’s not always easy to gauge in an interview how a Candidate will mesh with your culture and you certainly shouldn’t be restricting your talent pool to only those who fit within a certain box.

While making a new Employee feel welcome in the business should be a manager’s top priority, it takes two to make a professional relationship work. If your new hire seems unenthusiastic and uninterested in getting to know the team, there’s a good chance they aren’t the Candidate you thought they were during recruitment.

Mistakes are a fact of life. If you’ve made a bad hire and need to remedy your decision, our specialist teams will get you back on track by sourcing only the most suitable Candidates to meet your every need.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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