How Do You Deal With a Challenging New Hire?


It’s pretty much impossible to get everything right the first time. And this includes the hiring of new employees. Sometimes you end up with a new hire who is challenging to work with. This in turn can lead to further issues, such as an increase in staff turnover, losing clients, or lowering team morale.

It’s never nice to find yourself in this kind of position. The question is, how do you deal with new employees who are pulling in the opposite direction to the business? We’ve explored this topic in more detail below:

Why Might a New Hire Be Difficult to Deal With?

You can’t expect people to be easy to work with 100% of the time – everyone’s human, and we all have off days! But if you start noticing a pattern with your new hires, there could be a simple explanation as to their bad attitude. Three common reasons new employees can be challenging to work with are as follows:

1. Poor Management

If your management team isn’t communicating things effectively, it’s hardly any wonder that new hires aren’t fitting in, or seem difficult to work with. Poor communication will lead to confusion, frustration, and often a duplication of efforts.

If the problem is due to bad management, you’ll probably notice issues with other members of staff too, not just new employees. They may not be working to their full potential. If so, it can be a good idea to invest in management training, or taking a look at how your business handles communication in general.



2. Personal Issues

As well as being poorly managed, a challenging new hire could also be having personal issues that you’re unaware of. These could include anything from health issues to interpersonal relationships.

In such cases, it can be hard to know how to approach the issue, as it could be a sensitive topic. The best thing to do is create a working environment in which people feel comfortable talking about any problems they have, and that they’re in a supportive, safe space.

3. Rushing the Recruitment Process

Another common issue, in terms of finding a new employee difficult to work with, is rushing the recruitment process. If you’re desperate to fill a role, you may end up with someone who doesn’t fit the requirements.

It costs a lot of money to hire someone new, when you take into account things like posting the advert, spending time reviewing CVs, and taking time out of your day to hold interviews. So it’s essential to hire the right people first time.

Finding the Right Candidates

As mentioned above, one of the reasons for a challenging new hire is rushing the recruitment process. It may therefore be a good idea to review your interview process, first looking at the basics:

Does the Candidate Meet the Basic Criteria?

One of the first things you’ll need to do when hiring someone new is create a shortlist of viable candidates. This can be a slow process, as it usually involves sifting through loads of CVs, many of which won’t even meet the basic requirements.

If you do end up getting inundated with CVs, it can be sensible to take a systematic approach, getting rid of those which don’t match the job requirements, and then ranking those remaining. You can then do a similar thing with the cover letters that came with the CVs. Once you’ve found your top ten or twenty candidates, you can invite them to an interview.

Learn More in an Interview

The format of an interview can vary from business to business, but the main objective is to find out more about the candidates. This could include learning about any gaps in experience, how well the individual knows the industry, and any specialist skills they have. An interview also provides the opportunity to ask specific questions, especially if you have done some research on the candidate before the interview.

Make sure you take a consistent approach to interview questions, so you get all the information you need. And remember that these candidates are probably applying for other jobs at the same time, so you want to sell your organisation to them as much as they’re trying to convince you that they are the best fit for the role.



How to Deal With a Challenging Employee

Overall, it’s important to note that a challenging employee might not be the result of a bad hire. It could be due to poor management, or personal issues the individual is experiencing. You should therefore carefully review your internal processes, to see if these are causing any issues.

You should also try to speak with difficult employees directly, if they’re causing tension within the business. They may need additional support, or allowances could be made to make their work-life balance easier.

Finally, ensure you’re being proactive when dealing with challenging staff members. If you put off hard conversations, the issues may just get worse in the long run. And make sure you document problems – keeping a log shows you’re taking the matter seriously, and could be needed if disciplinary action is required.


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