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If you’re a small business owner, many of your potential hires might have the skills to fill your open positions — but experience alone doesn’t make a good employee. Whether you’re hiring for full-time or seasonal roles, it’s just as important to get a feel for their personality, whether they’ll uphold your company culture and if they have the qualities of a good employee.

Are they reliable? Do they value teamwork and communication? Will they be a good fit for your overall team as well as their specific role?

So, what makes a good employee? Before you schedule your next interview, learn to look for these six characteristics.

1. Reliability

Look for employees on whom you can count to arrive on time and finish their tasks. Reliable employees take responsibility for their assignments and meet deadlines. They show integrity by completing tasks and showing up even when a leader isn’t looking over their shoulder or offering praise. Something as simple as showing up two minutes late for their interview could be a sign that your candidate isn’t the most reliable.

2. Problem-solving skills

Valuable employees are driven to solve problems. They review different perspectives and provide helpful solutions. Rather than waiting to be told what to do, they’re proactive and look for opportunities to contribute. They’re curious and ask questions. During the interview process, ask the candidate to describe a specific example of a problem they solved in a previous role as well as its outcome.

3. Teamwork

Look for employees who can engage with their co-workers and are able to collaborate with their team to achieve goals. They are flexible, willing to change and can adapt to different roles. They are supportive and respectful of their colleagues. Engaged employees improve the morale of others and are more likely to go above and beyond for both their team and customers. Find out early on if they prefer to work independently or collaboratively, and why.

4. Conflict resolution

Successful employees have a drive to resolve conflict rather than avoid it or place blame on others. Employees who can resolve conflict communicate clearly, early and often. In their interview, you could ask candidates to describe a scenario in which they encountered conflict in a previous role and how they resolved it. If it sounds like they are placing blame on a co-worker or customer instead of describing how they found a solution, their conflict resolution skills may be lacking.

5. Communication skills

Strong communication skills are another characteristic of a good employee. This skill set is especially critical in employees who deal directly with customers, clients and other stakeholders. A person who possesses excellent communication skills is a good listener and can field questions with concise, well-constructed responses. During your interactions with a potential employee, look for signs that they are listening to learn rather than waiting for their turn to speak. Consider whether they respond to questions in a way that addresses the key topic in a natural storytelling manner with just the right amount of detail.

6. Willing to learn and ask questions

The best employees are constantly looking for new ways to improve themselves and contribute more to the company. They listen, take feedback seriously and are open minded when presented with new ideas. They aren’t afraid to ask questions and seek help when needed. Before making a job offer, probe to see how (or if) they stay well-informed of industry trends and work on sharpening their skills.

Are you looking to attract the best employees to your organization? Check out Nationwide’s employee benefit portfolio to see the solutions we offer for your most important asset: your team.

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