Use a Checklist to See if New Recruits are Workforce Ready

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Today, when most organizations are resorting to online recruitment, knowing the workforce readiness of your applicants matters more than ever. How do you know whether someone is workforce ready? A workforce ready checklist can help you make the right choices in recruitment. Here’s how.

Are Your New Recruits Workforce Ready?

Workforce readiness looks at whether your job applicants have the necessary knowledge, skills, attributes, and abilities to succeed on the job. Recruitment is costly. Good job performance is everyone’s dream. Therefore, employee onboarding, training, and retention all become easier if you start with the right kind of candidates. 

Your ideal recruit would be someone who can hit the ground running. When that is not possible, and often it is not, you want to find people who can be easily onboarded and trained to become a good fit for your business.

Assessing how workforce ready a candidate is can be a challenge. But it is a challenge you can overcome by being proactive and asking the right questions. It also pays to make sure you’re asking them consistently across applicants and interviews.

Just Job Skills Alone Won’t Do

Work readiness or job readiness can’t be measured merely by the technical skills necessary for the job. Employee behaviors and attitudes are important, too. Anyone who has been on a team with someone with a bad attitude knows how big of a difference it can make. A poor attitude can dampen everyone’s enthusiasm and have a negative impact on team cohesion, productivity, and overall performance. Because of this, you need to look at the soft skills of each recruit carefully.

Can you assess attitude and soft skills of a recruit without actually working with them or spending a lot time with them? It is not easy. People can appear wonderful on their resume and turn out to be a poor fit for the workplace. You can conduct personality tests, but these can be costly and time consuming to administer, especially on job applicants. Another method is to use a simple checklist.

Use a Checklist to Determine if Candidates are Workforce Ready

Try using a checklist as part of your hiring process to see if job candidates are workforce ready. In fact, we’ve already done the work and created one for you! It can be turned into a quiz applicants can take online or a form they can fill out on the spot, just before or as part of the interview.

Remember, this checklist contains traits and skills that most employers say they value. Therefore, it’s a common checklist any employer or recruiter in any industry can use during the interview process. If you want, you can tailor it to fit with your specific work culture or add skills and qualities that are important for the given job.

What goes into a good checklist?

A good workforce-ready checklist looks at how workforce ready your potential job candidates are in terms of:

  • Ability to work on a team
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Professionalism and work ethic
  • Leadership potential
  • Initiative
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Detail orientation
  • Interpersonal skills (relating well to others)

Our own Workforce Readiness Checklist, sample provided below, contains 50 statements. How applicants respond to these statements can serve as a starting point from which to seek further insights into a their experience or work ethic.

The Workforce Readiness Checklist - Sample

Ability to Work on a Team

  • I work well with others and consider myself a good teammate.
  • I have the ability to negotiate and manage conflict within the team.

Problem Solving

  • I view problems as challenges and opportunities.
  • I know thinking creatively can help solve some problems.


  • I can understand the content of written documents, such as instructions, letters, memos, and reports.
  • I can explain my thoughts and ideas clearly in writing.

Professionalism and Work Ethic

  • I admit when I make mistakes, and I try to learn from them.
  • I try to remain positive and committed to my work, even when the situation gets tough.

Leadership Potential

  • I am good at teaching, coaching, and guiding others to reach their goals.
  • I know that showing appreciation for people’s contributions, even small ones, can make a big difference.


  • I am willing to take on additional tasks and responsibilities at work.
  • I like volunteering in my personal and/or professional life.

Analytical and Quantitative Skills

  • I am able to gather, analyze, and interpret information in order to perform my job well.
  • I try to solve problems using the information I have gathered.

Flexibility and Adaptability

  • I can easily adapt to changes at work without getting upset.
  • I like to find alternative solutions to problems and think outside the box.

Detail Orientation

  • I can spot my own and others’ mistakes and am ready to make necessary changes.
  • I can focus on my individual tasks while keeping in mind that they are part of larger goals or initiatives.

Interpersonal Skills

  • I can relate well to my teammates, supervisors, and customers.
  • I try to be sensitive and empathetic toward others.

Want to download the full PDF version?

Click here to download the full checklist and visit our Resources page for other helpful materials, such as guides, templates, and eBooks.

screenshot of the workforce readiness checklist pdf

Level Up your Hiring Game

Want to take your hiring game to the next level? Check out these tips from author Jim Roddy. Jim has fantastic advice for asking the right kind of interview questions. Another way you can hire better is by using an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS comes with many benefits, such as ensuring that the hiring process is consistent and that nothing falls through the cracks. It also allows you to rank candidates, so that you focus your time and energy on those with the most promise.

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