What Should You Look for in an Employee?

A Hard Working Employee at Home DepotPhoto Courtesy: KOMUnews


When your business starts to take off, you might find that you need some help to keep things running smoothly. Whether that means you hire a part-time assistant, a skilled worker to perform specialized tasks or anything in between, you need to ensure that the person you hire will be good at the job at hand.

How to Find Them

Putting an ad on Craigslist may seem like the simplest plan to find applicants, but it can lead to an influx of hundreds of résumés, leaving you with the job of looking through them all, lining up interviews, and all of the other time-consuming aspects of hiring a new employee. You also have to be wary, since anybody can apply through Craigslist, meaning you could get plenty of people who don’t match your criteria or who lie on their application.

If you want to start with a smaller pool of candidates, you can use a recruiter, but that can cost you 20% of the annual salary of the position you are filling, which is pretty steep. Often, the best way to find someone is to talk to friends, family, and other employees and see if they know anybody. While you still want to check out all their references, it’s much more likely you’ll be given the name of someone reliable if you’re asking people you already know to be responsible themselves. You can also try business networking meetings in your area and career fairs at local universities.


Obviously, the important of qualifications will vary widely depending on the position in question; a secretary doesn’t necessarily need previous experience to be good at the job, while you’ll want somebody very knowledgeable for jobs that require specialized training. Whatever the position is, though, don’t rely solely on the person’s résumé to tell you how well they’ll do the job. Before or during the interview, give them task examples similar to what they’ll have to do for your company. Look carefully at what they do to accomplish the task, and just as importantly, how they accomplish it. This will give you insight into how qualified they are and how well they’ll perform the tasks necessary for the position.


Why does the applicant want this job? What are their plans and goals? If you don’t know the answers to these questions before you hire them, you may be in for a rude shock when they quit after only a few months so they can move on to something else. It’s expensive and time-consuming to train new employees, so you need to ensure that they’ll stay around for a while and be invested in the goals of the company. You want somebody who’s motivated to do a good job and work with you to help the business be successful.


It may seem minor, but it’s vastly important that you and the new employee can get along well. In a small business, the few employees tend to spend large amounts of time working with one another, with you, and with customers. You need to ensure that all employees can get along well with these different groups. Before you hire somebody, check to be sure that they’ll get along well with everyone. It’ll make your life much easier and happier in the long run.


Hiring employees can be a long and arduous process, so you want to ensure that anyone you hire will be a good fit for your business and will stick around. If you make careful choices from the get-go and make sure you’ve made a good choice before hiring somebody, you’ll find yourself happy with your newest employee for a long time to come.


Pete Shelton is a business blogger and recommends USA Reports Daily for news and interesting articles.

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