Originally published on August 18, 2016 @ 6:20 pm
The employees that you choose to hire for your business can mean the difference between success and failure. In an ideal world, you could put an ad out for the type of employee you’re looking for and get a stack of applicants that are qualified for that position. In the real world, the people applying will be everything from overqualified, to obviously lacking qualifications or having disruptive natures. There are people out there who can not only fail to adequately do their jobs, but cause employee productivity to fall throughout the whole business and bring a host of legal troubles.
To avoid all that, here are some traits you should look out for in every employee you hire.
Work Ethic: This is actually one of the easiest traits to positively identify in a potential hire, because it will be reflected in their work history and in how they approach the application process itself. A person with great work ethic will complete the application perfectly; they will have an excellent resume and cover letter attached, relevant samples, and their previous employers will have a lot of good things to say about them. During the interview, they will show their preparedness by asking relevant questions and having things to say about their work history.
Positive Attitude: You want your employees to have a positive attitude because, first, positive people are more pleasant to be around and work with, and secondly, positive people will contribute more to the company they work for because they lack the negative, defeatist attitudes that hinder themselves and everyone around them.
Good Communication Skills: The modern working world consists mainly of the collaborative efforts of individuals working together to achieve common aims, making communication skills extremely important. Those who lack communication skills can drag projects down by passing on incomplete or incorrect information, failing to keep in touch with their partners, and creating animosity among coworkers due to their inherently frustrating personalities. Note that not everyone you hire has to be a charming, charismatic person, but they should at the very least be able to communicate their ideas face to face without falling apart.
Stability and Reliability: It seems that our current social environment had bred a contagion of flaky, unreliable people who sometimes decide to change their entire lives at the drop of a hat and become completely unreachable before popping back up again 6 months later having “found themselves”. Whatever the cause of this phenomenon, part of your task is to filter out this sort of chaff so that you can find employees that will stick around long enough to make a real impact.
Character: Although most companies seem to value only the people who get the best results at all costs, the sort of sociopathic environment that this attitude fosters can only harm your business over the long run. Cutthroats are only interested in their own gains, and will gladly sell you down the river to achieve what they want, as many stories that came out of the financial crisis illustrated. Instead, opt for steadfast, dedicated employees who will contribute to your company and earn their take.
It would be ideal to get a positive reference about each employee from someone that you know and trust, but that’s not always possible, so get references from the applicants and call them. You should take care not ignore the personal references, as people are less guarded around the people they know personally and tend to reveal more of themselves than they do to their bosses and coworkers. You can also get a good idea of what an applicant is like by the people they choose to spend their time with, so if their personal reference seems like a person of exceptional quality, then you can generally expect the applicant to have a similar attitude.
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