Small Business Owners Share the Top Qualities They Look for in Employees

Hiring the right person is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your business.

The right person will increase your productivity, allowing you to take your business to greater heights, but recruiting the wrong one can cost money and add more work to your already full plate. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that bad hires cost companies 30% of the individual’s expected first-year earnings.

Whether you’re an employer looking to hire your first employee or are a job seeker wanting to know what employers are looking for in potential hires, read on to learn about:

Qualities Employers Look for in Potential Employees

Red Flags To Watch Out For

Final Thoughts – Top Qualities Business Owners Look for When Hiring

Qualities Employers Look for in Potential Employees

Before interviewing candidates, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for to speed up the hiring process.

Critter Depot Operations Manager Jeff Neal shares, “There was a time we needed people to pack orders. Knowing that this is what we were looking for made it very easy to identify the candidates we wanted to bring onto the team.”

For example, if you’re looking for someone to pack orders for your e-commerce business, you might not need someone with Excel skills.

Skills aren’t the only things employers consider. Many business owners say that they also look at a potential hire’s personality and how they fit into the company culture. These are the top qualities small business owners look for in potential employees:

  • Good communicator. “As the business world shifts to a remote and hybrid working model, a team member that communicates well is invaluable.” – Harriet Chan, CocoFinder
  • Passionate. “An employee with a passion for your company and its cause will come to work with rigor and excitement, and assist your company in growth.” – Max Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Stoggles, Inc.
  • Adaptable and a lifelong learner. “If someone is passionate about learning, he can learn anything that you need him to learn. If he doesn’t possess the skills that the job requires, his passion for learning will help him learn those skills quickly.

“Adaptability is also important. In business, things are uncertain, and it is important to adapt to the changes.”

-Jessica Robinson, The Speaking Polymath
  • Integrity and Strong Work Ethic. “Hire people who are trustworthy and have a high level of integrity. Employees with a strong work ethic can influence and improve others’ work ethic.” – Tommy Gallagher, Founder, Top Mobile Banks.
  • Empathic. “While you can teach employees technical skills, it’s very hard to teach them empathy.” – Thomas Jepsen, CEO, Passion Plans.

Pay attention to what they’re asking you during the interview, advises WinCope CEO, Amber Morland. “Approach the interview as a dialogue, rather than a question-and-answer session”.

Sometimes, asking the requisite interview questions to gauge a candidate’s personality isn’t enough. Tanya Zhang, the co-founder of Nimble Made, says, “Ensure that candidates spend a significant amount of time with your staff. Expose potential candidates to various working scenarios to assess how they interact with the rest of the team. It allows you to observe how the applicant interacts with other employees and also allows key stakeholders to provide input on the candidate.”

Red Flags To Watch Out For

Allowing potential hires to interact with other employees also gives you fresh eyes if you miss any red flags. Some red flags employers look out for include:

  • Lack of research about the company. “If the employee can’t be bothered to do diligence about the company, how seriously would they take the job if they got it?” – Rolf Bax, CHRO, Resume.io.
  • Lack of weaknesses. “If I ask a candidate to describe a time they made a mistake and what they did to fix it, and they are unable to admit they made a mistake, it tells me that they have a big ego.” – Sebastian Schaeffer, owner, Dofollow.io.
  • Speaking ill about the previous employer. “ If their social media accounts are flooded with negative comments [about the employer], then your business may receive the same treatment which can ultimately damage your brand.” – Michelle Halpern, owner of the blog Live Like It’s The Weekend.

Final Thoughts – Top Qualities Business Owners Look for When Hiring

Hiring employees can be a tedious process, but it’s worth it when you find the right person.

Before posting the job listing, know what to look for and watch out for it during the hiring process. Engage in a dialogue with the candidate and let them spend time with the team to determine whether they’d be a good fit.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |

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