If you’re a small business owner, many of your potential hires may seem like good fits to fill your open positions based on their resumes. 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 will 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?
Before scheduling your next interview, learn how to look for these eight characteristics.
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.
Even when a task’s deadline can’t be made, a reliable employee communicates this ahead of time to their manager and creates a new plan of action to move forward. Even something as simple as showing up two minutes late for their interview could be a sign that your candidate isn’t the most reliable.
Anyone who knows how to do a job can go through the motions, but only someone who wants to do a job better will improve. That’s what dedicated employees bring to the table – a desire to improve and the drive to make it happen. This kind of passion can push employees through setbacks, keep them on track when schedules get hectic and inspire their best efforts on every assignment.
3. Team player
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. During the interview, ask for an example of when they had to work with other members of their team, why, and what the output was.
4. Ability to resolve conflicts
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 interviews, 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. Good communicator
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.
Good communicators also know that body language and tone play a large role. During your interactions with a potential employee, pay attention to body language and 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. Consider asking for an example of a time when they’ve received feedback and how they incorporated it into their daily duties.
Employers often speak glowingly of employees with initiative, but the confidence empowering that initiative is often overlooked. Employees need to believe their ideas are good enough to propose them. Innovation, willingness to challenge strategies and the ability to take action at critical moments – these things all require confidence. It’s a particularly important quality for roles with a high degree of independence or client interaction.
8. Has integrity and is honest
Honesty isn’t just the best policy, it’s non-negotiable! Without honesty and integrity, there can be no trust; without trust, no organization can function. You need to be able to trust your employees to do the work they say they’ll do, protect sensitive company information, and so much more. Trust can also help build a healthier workplace culture with more robust teamwork and transparency practices.
Are you looking to attract the best employees to your organization? Check out Nationwide’s employee benefit portfolio and Business Solutions Center to see the solutions we offer for your most important asset: your team.