I am involved in a hiring process for system engineers. We are looking for people with several years experience and company is ready to invest a lot in bringing the right people up-to-speed.
Now the problem is that due to work specifics (clearances, niche work-area), it is easily 6 months after hiring that the new person will be allowed to work on anything more than simple tasks. From the past hiring experience, it takes about 1-1.5 years a until the new person can operate somewhat independently within his area of responsibility and expertise.
This does not go well with a lot of new hires. As we are hiring people with several years experience, they are all very confident that they are ready to dive-in and solve "all the world's problems" straight away. As you can guess, their enthusiasm goes down the drain after joining and seeing that it will take long time for them to be given serious tasks.
So my question is what would be good questions to ask a potential candidate to see how they handle long learning curves? Or what are the most obvious red-flags? We are very open about the realities of the job. Note that new hires are being paid full salary straight away after joining.
EDIT: To clarify some of the questions:
We are hiring people with general knowledge in X (Radio communication, IT security, EMI/EMF compatibility, mechanical engineering, etc.) and then we teach them what is required to work in our field. We teach them change management, configuration management, requirements management and similar disciplines, because it is extremely rare to find people with working knowledge in above fields.
New hire starts on simple tasks straight away, have a buddy and constant hand-holding from peers and HR. They are not sitting on their hands. We give them more responsibility as they progress, but it still takes time before they can work fully independently.
Clearances is only part of the equation (which takes time). Another part is that for them to function independently, they need to know how to follow the processes, most of which are dictated by the industry norms.