Hiring the wrong employee comes at a huge cost. According to Gallup, “The cost of replacing an employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.” For just one $50,000 salaried employee, turnover could cost a business $25,000-$100,000.

With the high cost of workplace turnover, selecting your next team member is critical to the success of your business. Before you make a decision on your next hire, here are 10 things you should consider:

1. Referrals

When you need to hire, ask for referrals within your network first.

Referrals help you get to know your candidates before the interview process even begins. When you need to fill a position, ask your family, ask your friends, ask your social networks, and ask your current workforce if they know anyone who would be right for the role. Your workers will appreciate that you sought their help and value their opinion.

Referrals come backed by the opinion of someone you already know. And what’s more, people are going to be careful to only recommend someone they trust since it puts their own reputation on the line. If it doesn’t work out, it will look bad on the referrer.

2. References

References are simple, yet incredibly valuable.

What do other people have to say about your candidate? References are different than referrals. You can, and should, ask any potential hire for references from previous employers—and check in with the references they provide.

Here are 10 questions to ask when checking references, including:

  • If you had the opportunity, would you rehire this job candidate? Why?
  • What else should I know about the candidate that I didn’t already ask?
  • Who else should I speak to that could provide me with different insight on the candidate?
3. Adaptability

Adaptability is a hot topic across a number of industries. With technology changing more rapidly than ever before, workers must be able to adapt to an ever-evolving workforce. Today’s roles are in a constant state of change as old processes are updated and new technologies emerge.

Fast Company discusses how adaptability could be The Key To The Future Of Work. A person can be assessed by their IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which we’re most familiar with, their EQ (Emotional Quotient), or their AQ (Adaptability Quotient).

Adaptai, a startup transforming the way people and businesses adapt to change, describes AQ (Adaptability Quotient) as “The ability to adapt to and thrive in an environment of change.”

As businesses take on new technologies, most notably automation, an employee’s ability to adapt will play a more crucial role. You can gauge a candidate’s adaptability by asking questions about how they deal with and adapt to workplace changes.

4. Motivation

Carefully consider a candidate’s level of motivation. Are they a self-starter? Or will they need to be pushed to perform the tasks of the job? You are their employer, after all, not their babysitter.


According to Gallup, “workplace productivity is low—across the globe.” Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found the worldwide average of workers who are not engaged is a whopping 67%. And workplace productivity is even lower in Australia and New Zealand. The same report found 71% of workers down under are not engaged in their job and 15% are actively disengaged. Only 14% of workers said they were engaged.

💡 Learn more about the effects of low engagement and what to do about it in our article: How to Increase Motivation in the Workplace.

Assessing motivation before you are able to see an employee in a work environment can be a tough task. Marcel Schwantes, the Founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, shares 10 interview questions for assessing motivation and drive, including:

  • When you had extra time available in a previous position, describe ways you found to make your job more efficient.
  • Describe a time when you recognised that you were unable to meet multiple deadlines. What did you do about it?
  • If you find yourself working with a team that is not motivated, how do you keep yourself motivated?

Asking the right questions in the interview process can help ensure you build an engaged and motivated workforce.

5. Communication

Hiring for communication skills is a must in any industry. Being an effective communicator helps mitigate and resolve conflicts before they escalate. It’s difficult to tell from one interview whether or not the candidate has these skills, but there are questions you can ask to get a good idea of how they communicate.

Ask them to describe how they dealt with:

  • Difficult or controlling co-workers
  • A co-worker with a completely different point of view
  • Miscommunication with a co-worker
  • Miscommunication with a boss or supervisor
  • Small disagreements with a co-worker

Strong team relationships keep workplace morale high. We all know what a drain it is to work with a bully or someone who is lacking in empathy. Keep your team and business happy by hiring a workforce with strong communication skills.

6. Integrity

Integrity refers to a person’s honesty and their ability to stick to their own moral principles. And while this quality can be difficult to gauge in one meeting, there are ways to spot it in your candidate.

  • Does the candidate give credit where credit is due?
  • When they speak about their accomplishments, do they acknowledge assistance they might have had?
  • Do they give examples of working alongside others?
  • Do they exaggerate doing it on their own?

Hiring candidates with integrity will strengthen your whole team. Workers who are able to share credit for a job well done will boost morale and the bond shared by your team members.

7. Positivity

Look for positivity in your potential candidates throughout the interview process. It’s a simple one, but not doing so can have lasting negative effects on your business. Experts say negativity in the workplace can quickly become contagious.

A negative employee can erode the energy of those around them, resulting in lower motivation for the whole team. From unproductive meetings to higher turnover, there’s a monetary cost to workplace negativity too.

Your candidate doesn’t need to be all sunshine and rainbows, but you should get a positive feel from them. If they aren’t giving off positivity in an interview, what will their attitude be like when under stress or after a long day of work?


💡 Examples that will help employers Deal With Negativity in the Workplace.

8. Health and Safety

Hiring a medically unfit employee can cause significant safety risks for the rest of your employees and for your business. In 2018 alone, preliminary data shows 157 Australian workers lost their lives in work-related incidents according to Safe Work Australia.

Pre-employment medical assessments manage workplace risk by ensuring employees are able to meet the physical and mental demands of a job. From a hiring perspective, the medical lets employers know how suitable a given candidate is for the position they are applying for. The assessments do not discriminate against those with health issues, but rather they make sure the candidate is medically fit to take on the role—for their own safety, and the safety of their future teammates.

WHA provides pre-employment medicals and ongoing medicals tailored to the needs of your business and specific job roles. At all of our facilities across Australia and New Zealand, we have qualified healthcare experts, supported by an innovative software platform, designed and developed by WHA. This software platform ensures assessment results are produced in a timely, cost efficient manner and always available to track and be viewed by the employer. To learn more or to book a pre-employment medical, please call our Australian Customer Service team.

9. Team Fit

When you are making a hiring decision, consider who you already have working for you, as well as the existing team dynamic. You want to create a well-rounded team with a variety of strengths.

When evaluating your current team, consider:

  • What skill sets are missing?
  • What personality traits are dominant?
  • What could the team use more of?
  • What could the team use less of?

You want to establish team variety so no one strength or weakness overpowers the others. In the hiring process, look for a person who exemplifies what your current team is missing. Ask questions that will help reveal the specific skills, traits, or work styles you are looking for.

10. Future Goals

With the high cost of turnover, you always need to consider an employee’s future with your business.

You can prevent turnover by better understanding the employees you hire. Ask questions that dig into their goals and plans for the future.

  • What do they want from their career?
  • Where do they see themselves in 5 years?
  • What are their goals?
  • What can you as the employer do to help them reach their goals?

Try to get a sense of how long they might stay with your company. You’re looking for a candidate that wants a career, not just a job.

Continue Supporting Your Workforce

Read our Top 10 Ways to Create a Safe and Healthy Workforce to learn how you can support your team every step of the way.

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