6 red flags that signal your potential new hire might become the next fire

It’s a tough gig finding a new #tradie in Australia’s trade shortage. So when you finally receive an application, you probably jump on the opportunity to hire staff before they go elsewhere.

Slow down!

I’ve always said it and I’ll say it again, “hire slow, fire fast”.

Hiring hastily often means you miss some steps in the hiring process, you’re too busy preparing their contract and organising a new truck to even bother with an interview!

The result? You miss red flags that signal the tradie might not right for your business. Meaning your new hire is going to be the next fire, wasting everyone’s time, and not to mention your money.

Taking your time to properly interview the applicant is well worth the time. Just meeting them once will bring to light any red flags, but what should you look out for?

1. Punctuality issues

If the applicant turns up to the interview late, don’t take “the traffic was terrible” as an excuse.

As a trade business owner, your time is precious and if they don’t value a minute of your time, then they’re definitely not going to value your other employees and even your customer’s time.

2. Social media profile

70% of employers are currently look up potential candidates on social media before hiring.

And with everyone posting even the most minute details all over Facebook and Instagram for everyone to see, it’s no wonder why they do. Seeing images and posts from your tradie can give you a massive insight into their life! Everything from what they like to do on the weekend, who they’re friends with, where they’ve worked, and much more can be found online, allowing you to determine if you think the tradie would fit in with yours and your business’s values.

3. Bad energy

When interviewing the tradie, take note of their body language and enthusiasm. If they lack eye contact, are slouched or slumped, and are generally uninterested and unenthusiastic, don’t be fooled into thinking their attitude will change once hired.

4. Employment gaps

Whilst having gaps in employment history can be quite common, they need to have a valid reason behind them.

If you find yourself interviewing someone with gaps in their employment simply ask them “what did you do during that period?”

If they have a valid reason such as “I was bringing up my children” or “I was travelling” then great! If their reason is poor or they don’t even have one, then what are they hiding?

5. Lack of honesty

One of the most common interview questions is “what is your greatest weakness?”

If the applicant struggles to think of something or uses something generic like “I’m a perfectionist”, then it’s probably safe to say they’re hiding their true weakness from you because they’re afraid of your judgement. Those who have the confidence to discuss areas of improvement show they have greater self awareness and are open to learning!

6. Lack of attention to detail

It’s true tradies aren’t the best when it comes to paperwork. They don’t need to be!

But if you receive a resume and cover letter that is riddled with mistakes, then what’s the chance the applicant will be able to complete invoices correctly?

Yes, this is something that can be learnt! Ask yourself, how important is this to the role?

If this person is expected to be liaising with customers, writing invoices and emails, they are probably not the right candidate.

But if they are going to be mostly on the tools and spelling and grammar is not really part of the job, then it is probably fine.

However also consider, this is meant to be a first impression…why didn’t the tradie ask someone to quickly scan over their resume before sending it in or even more simpler, do a spell check?

If they don’t have time for that then they’ll most likely be impatient. I’m not saying that this will translate to their workmanship, however I’m not saying that it won’t. Be careful that these initial concerns about laziness and lack of patience don’t turn out to be character traits that translate across multiple areas of work.

Taking your time when hiring a new tradie will result in hiring the right tradie!

The long term result? A happy team, a great work culture, and awesome employee retention!

Interested in learning more about hiring the right tradie and fostering an awesome work culture?

     What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.