One of the great uncertainties in business is hiring the right employee. Why is the right employee so critical to your business? Because hiring the wrong employee could spell disaster for your company.
Before you hire your next employee, you need to understand the traits of a good employee. You’re likely to survive one bad hire, but several bad hires could mean that your company is in trouble. It could cost your company up to $40,000 in training and replacement costs.
That’s on top of lower employee morale because other employees see that hires aren’t sticking around for a reason. They could feel threatened and stop caring about their work.
Know What Your Needs Are
Before you hire an employee, you need to know yourself and your business.
You want to have an employee that is aligned with your values and vision of your business. For many employees, having a job that aligns with their values matters more than money. It will also lead to a higher retention rate and a higher sense of loyalty to your business.
To get to that point, you need to know what you want from your employees. Of course, you want someone that has the skills and experience to do the work. You also want someone that will fit in with the long-term vision of your company.
The Top Traits of a Good Employee
Once you have an understanding of what you want from an employee, you can start to look at the traits of a good employee. These are the top traits you want to have in your employees to ensure that they’re productive and they’ll perform well on the job.
Here’s what they are and how you can uncover them in an interview.
1. They Are Punctual
Is your business deadline driven? Does your employee have to take a lot of meetings? If the answer is yes, you definitely need someone who’s punctual.
Usually, an employee that shows up 5 minutes early for the interview understands the importance of being on time.
In today’s always connected world, there’s no excuse for someone being late without notification. Things happen, but without some kind of notice, it can come across as disrespectful.
2. They Take Service Seriously
No matter what capacity the employee will fill at your company, there’s always a focus on service. Managers serve employees and help them be their best. Front line staff interacts with customers to deliver world-class service.
This is an important trait to have and you can uncover this in an interview by asking how they went above and beyond for a customer or another employee.
3. They Are Curious and Ask Questions
Critical thinking seems to be a lost skill these days. Many employees are content to take orders and not ask questions. Even if they sense that something is amiss in the process, they won’t question anything and just follow the orders given.
An employee that asks questions and is curious about the systems at your company can see opportunities for improvement and make those suggestions.
During the interview, note the types of questions that the prospect asks. Are they genuinely interested in how your business works? This is a good sign that they’re a good fit with your company.
4. They Are Self Aware
The best employees are honest with themselves and they seek a deeper understanding of themselves. They know what their strengths are as well as their weaknesses.
This is why you want to ask the standard “What are your strengths and weaknesses” question. You want to see how well they know themselves, and what they plan to do to improve on those weaknesses.
5. They Value Communication
One of the best traits to have in a good employee is communication. Much like in the example above between order-takers and curious employees, you want an employee that can communicate potential issues.
The key to communication is respectful communication. Anyone who communicates in an abrasive way could be bad for your company, especially if they have to work with customers.
6. They Have the Basic Skills the Position Requires
All of these traits are important to have in employees, but you also need someone who is going to be able to fulfill the minimum requirements of the job. For example, if the job requires a lot of work with creative writing or working with spreadsheets, you need to make sure they’re capable of performing with minimum training.
They may tell you that they have the skills in an interview. You can make sure that they’re not embellishing their skillset by giving them an employee aptitude test.
7. They Take Feedback Well
It’s inevitable that your employee will have a moment where he/she makes a mistake and needs to be corrected.
How they respond to feedback is everything. A defensive reaction where they lay blame with others isn’t conducive to a quality environment in your business. It could be downright toxic.
However, an employee that takes responsibility for their mistake and truly wants to learn from it is an employee you want to have.
In this part of the interview, you can ask them what the biggest mistake was they made in their career and what did they learn from it. It’s a humbling question that will help you discover the employee that isn’t driven by ego and wants to grow.
Never Have a Bad Hire Again
Hiring employees can feel like rolling dice and hoping for a big win. Running a business is challenging enough without the stress of having employees that aren’t the right fit for your company.
You can avoid all of that by doing the important work of knowing what your company values are and what the position requires ahead of time. You also need to know what the best traits of good employees are so you can look for those traits in the interview process.
You’ll know when you have the right employee when you follow the tips outlined here. What more tips to manage employees? Read this article that shows you why employee training is important to your business.