How Do You Know When A New Recruit Is Struggling?


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Onboarding new staff is a crucial part of the recruitment process, but how do you spot the signs that they are struggling?

Article 2 Minutes
How Do You Know When A New Recruit Is Struggling?

Bringing a new employee into the organization is an important but challenging aspect of business for any company. Recruiting more staff enables growth, but if your new employees can't hit the ground running then you may have problems ahead.

Many firms have a probation period for new staff, but ending their contract still means that all the time and expense invested into their recruitment has been wasted. You'll have to start again and turn to your other staff or freelancers in the meantime.

The best way to solve this problem is to recognize the issues while they are still small and help the new recruit to resolve them.

But what should you be looking out for? Here are some signs that your new employee may be having problems with the work:

Lack of engagement

Of course, some employees are just less outgoing than others and it's difficult for new staff to be confident and engage with people straight away, but keeping to themselves is a key sign that they aren't fitting into the role well. It may be that this is more an issue of engaging with their co-workers rather than struggling with the work itself, but it can soon have a knock-on effect on performance.

You can resolve this by organizing social events and making sure they are able to attend. It's also a good idea to sit them in a team of people that are used to working with new staff. Some people can get frustrated if they have issues, which could risk alienating them and leading to further problems. Making sure they are connected with the rest of the company will also make collaboration on work projects much easier.


It may seem obvious, but if a new employee isn't getting the results you'd expect they may be struggling with the work you've given them. They may be unwilling to come forward about any problems because they are worried about losing their job or looking stupid in front of their peers.

A way to resolve this is to create a buddy system when they start at your company. Shadowing someone else, and having someone they can go to who isn't directly involved in their hiring, can give them the confidence they need to address any issues, and learn the right way to perform tasks.

Hesitant to contribute

Some people are more confident than others, but if your new employee is struggling to contribute in brainstorms or meetings, it could be a sign that they are experiencing problems. New starters may lack confidence in themselves or their knowledge so give them the opportunity to speak up during brainstorming sessions and meetings. This can be tricky to do without putting them on the spot, but make sure you are creating an atmosphere where contributions - even bad ones - are welcomed. This should help grow their confidence and help them become more forthcoming in the future.

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