The Telltale Signs of a Great Hire

October 31, 2016 Pete Jansons

Regardless of the position for which you are hiring, demonstration of certain characteristics can indicate that an applicant will make an excellent employee. Help your small business reach new heights by looking for candidates who exhibit the following qualities:

Want to hire someone you can trust to represent your company? A candidate who shows up on time, dresses appropriately, acts courteous, and clearly has done his homework knows the importance of a good first impression. But don’t stop your evaluation there. Listen to how the person talks about past employers, co-workers and experiences – both during an interview and on social media. Is he or she quick to claim credit for achievements but equally eager to blame others for problems? A true professional doesn’t jockey for sole command of the spotlight or air dirty laundry.

Problem-solving ability
Small business employees are often challenged to do more with less. They also get called upon to deal with unforeseen problems – sometimes outside of their comfort zones. Look for workers who attack challenges rather than try to avoid or run from them. A competent problem solver keeps the team level-headed and focused on solutions, not drama. Inquire about how the candidate solved a tricky situation at a previous job, or create a scenario based on the position at hand and ask the interviewee to discuss how he or she would approach it.

A love of learning
The skill sets your employees bring to the table when hired definitely affect your company’s capacity for success. But the best hires will not only be valuable today – they’ll be anxious to keep improving in order to grow along with your small business. Evaluate resumes for examples of being a lifelong learner, such as taking classes, attending conferences or gaining new certification. Ask about the role professional development opportunities play in career plans and the decision on whether or not to accept a position.

A sense of team
Small businesses thrive when staff members put the good of the company front and center. This often means assuming various roles and helping co-workers whenever a need arises. People who regularly assert that “that isn’t my job,” fail to pull their weight, or act inappropriately zap morale – especially when working in close quarters. Ask potential hires for their perspective on how to get along with fellow workers and resolve conflicts. Provide opportunities for them to interact both formally and informally with current staff (and seek feedback). And don’t neglect the “little things,” such as holding doors for others and treating the receptionist with respect.

Entrepreneurial spirit
Lastly, look for individuals who share your excitement for entrepreneurship. They need not run the company, but they’ll add to it with their genuine curiosity and ability to challenge the status quo in a positive manner. Take note of applicants who ask questions about why your small business does things certain ways or who want to hear about your five-year vision. A kindred trailblazer will keep you on your toes and likely be one of your brand’s strongest ambassadors.

Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy.



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