15 Warning Signs Your New Hire May Not Pan Out As Expected

new hires that don't pan out

Accurately gauging the fit of a job candidate can be difficult, and sometimes new hires who seemed great during the interview process don’t pan out as expected. In situations like this, a leader must take action to course-correct and figure out the problem before the whole team suffers.

To help you identify some red flags to look for early in a new employee’s tenure, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:

“What’s one warning sign that a new hire may not pan out as you’d expected? What should a business leader do once they realize this?”

Here’s what they recommend leaders be on the lookout for.

1. There’s a Lack of Communication

“Communication is super important. If it feels like things are getting off on the wrong foot, don’t wait—check in. See what’s happening. Nine times out of 10, it’s probably a miscommunication or problem that’s easily solved. Also, get feedback on whether things are confusing or difficult to understand. Communication goes both ways, so don’t be afraid to ask and listen.” ~ Sean Ogle, Location Rebel

2. The New Hire Doesn’t Take Notes

“It’s a red flag if a new hire doesn’t take notes as they learn how to do the job, who they’ll work with, etc. No one can remember everything. The best employees have a sense of responsibility and are capable of self-management. They want to learn how to do their jobs as quickly as possible. If they don’t take notes, they’ll need to rely on other people to help them for much longer than necessary.” ~ Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

3. They Don’t Ask Questions

“You can fairly quickly identify that a new team member is sinking if they do not ask any questions. New jobs and roles are a challenge, and if people are quiet and not asking questions, it is a clear signal they are lost. Setting up an onboarding process with regular training and check-ins will require vocalization, which should provide the opportunity for the team member to ask the required questions.” ~ Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

4. They’re Not Enthusiastic About Learning

“A lack of enthusiasm to learn is a huge sign a new hire is simply not going to work out. Without a willingness to jump in and see how things are done and how the team works or an interest in learning new methods, there’s not much that’s going to happen in your business’s favor. Adaptability is key. If it doesn’t seem to be there, have a heart-to-heart and see if it’s best to part ways on a good note.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

5. They Dismiss Feedback

“Dismissing feedback is a problem you want to rectify as early as possible during the trial process. Even experienced hires need to adapt to new processes and team dynamics, which is evaluated during the onboarding process and the first weeks. Great hires take notes and adapt to the process while others try to instill their practices and require regular reminders.” ~ Mario Peshev, DevriX

6. They Clearly Don’t Fit the Company’s Culture

“The biggest red flag is if the employee doesn’t fit the company’s culture. For instance, if your team is used to working autonomously and this person needs their hand held, that’s a sign things may not work out. The first thing you should do is try to address those issues. Sometimes you can get the person on the right track immediately. If not, it’s often best to communicate that and cut ties.” ~ Cody Candee, Bounce

7. They Don’t Make an Effort to Get Along With Coworkers

“If I notice a new hire is not making an effort to get along with the rest of the team or has an attitude toward them, then that’s a telltale sign that this person is not the right fit for our small team. Culture and fit are two important things we look for when hiring.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

8. Other Team Members Are Giving Negative Feedback

“One warning sign that a new hire isn’t a good fit for the organization is negative feedback from team members who rely on them. Negative team feedback could include things like lack of responsiveness in communication, unwillingness to stretch their abilities or being chronically late to deliver work on time.” ~ Richard Fong, ProcessingCard.com

9. They Struggle With Technology

“In today’s world where remote work is more normal, having good computer and internet skills is critical. A new hire who struggles to do research and find answers to simple problems or lacks critical thinking even after training would do better in another place. I would share my feedback with them and offer them ideas on how to improve. Hopefully, they will build these skills for their next job.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. They Don’t Believe They Need to Improve

“A new hire may not go as expected if they believe they don’t need to improve or work around anything. If a new employee is so set in their ways that they can’t adapt to new processes or strategies, they’ll be less able to collaborate and get along with others. It’s important to be adaptable to gain the most knowledge and benefit from learning new methods.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. They Don’t Respond Well to Onboarding

“One red flag is if they don’t respond well to onboarding. Every employee should go through standard training for their position. If training doesn’t go well, it’s worth having a manager talk to the employee one on one and determine the issue at hand. They may process information differently, or their expectations about the position didn’t match the reality.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

12. They Can’t Follow Instructions

“It is important to have checklists and to follow them. If a new hire cannot follow detailed instructions and checklists, then they are not going to work out long term. If they miss an item on the first try, fine, but if repeated failures keep appearing, then they need to be fired quickly before quality becomes an issue.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

13. They Lack Ability and Passion for the Job

“Ability and passion are the two standards to judge if your new hire is a good fit or not. Do they understand what’s required of them? Are they producing results? Do they care about the quality of the work they do? Are they willing to learn and improve? These questions have to be answered honestly. With time and training, you’d know if that hire is a good fit or not for your business.” ~ Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

14. They’re Consistently Making Mistakes

“Your new employee might not pan out if they consistently make mistakes and don’t bother to ask questions. Some people get the idea in their head that it’s embarrassing to ask for help and instead continue making the same mistakes. If you notice this trend, have a one-on-one meeting with the employee and find out what questions they have so you can try to get them back on track.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

15. They’re Still Lost After 90 Days

“If 90 days pass and a new hire still hasn’t gotten the hang of their tasks and gotten a rhythm going, they most likely never will. Unless your company has poor onboarding processes, there’s no reason why an employee should need more than this amount of time to understand their role and complete their tasks.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

Image: Depositphotos

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.