There are many elements you should consider when hiring someone, both from the point of view of your business, and that of the candidate's. Here are six things you should look for when hiring.
Excitement for the job.
When you're hiring someone, it goes without saying that they should be excited about the position. People who are excited about a job will have more energy, and in turn, become more productive. They will be able to put in the hard work required to make the company or organization flourish. An unexcited employee can bring down the collective morale of any group and may not take his or her responsibilities as seriously as one who is fired up overworking for you.
So, how do you know if your candidate is excited? The best way is to ask them what excites them about this particular role or working for your organization. If they can't come up with anything off the top of their head, it's probably not a good sign. Another way is to talk about what makes your company unique by sharing why you love it and why you got into it yourself (if you're self-employed). This can inspire candidates to share their own stories of passion, which will tell you a lot! Even if they don't have stories to share yet, they might feel inspired by their interactions with you enough that they'll want to create their own when joining your team.
Attention to detail.
Attention to detail is one of the most vital skills an employee can have.
To get a feel for a candidate's attention to detail, look for how they answer questions. Are their responses thoughtful and detailed? Do they provide specifics when asked?
The way they carry themselves in an interview is also telling. Did they arrive on time? Are they appropriately dressed? Would you trust them to represent your company at a client meeting or networking event?
Are there any typos on their resume and/or cover letter? Did they address you with the correct spelling of your name in any emails preceding the interview?
During the interview, test them by asking questions about something that's visible in your office space. For instance: "What color is our logo?" or "How many pictures are hanging on this wall?" No one expects applicants to be able to give exact numbers, but if someone says there are 20 pictures hanging in the room when there are only 19, it suggests a lack of observation skills. This could have huge implications in their day-to-day tasks as an employee (e.g., missing important details mentioned during meetings or briefings).
A positive, friendly attitude.
No matter how much expertise employees possess, a bad attitude will be the bane of any organization. To put it simply, a positive attitude is essential to working with others and being able to get things done in tough situations. When you have a negative employee who's quick to criticize co-workers and slow to solve problems, it can damage morale and make other employees feel jaded. But if you employ someone who's more likely than not going to make the best of every situation possible, they can help your team navigate conflict with less drama and produce outputs of higher quality.
Bonus: happy employees are more likely to stick around.
A willingness to learn and take direction.
Employers should look for someone who is willing to learn and takes direction well. A good employee will be open to learning new things and try new techniques, even if they are not the most proficient at them. An employer should be willing to invest in training their employees, so they can perform better and feel more confident in the workplace. The employee should also take direction from management and supervisors when it comes to new ideas or plans that need to be implemented at the office.
A sense of personal responsibility and accountability.
What exactly is a "sense of personal responsibility and accountability?" It's the ability to be accountable for your actions and to take responsibility for what you do. Accountable people are reliable and will always follow through with their commitments. Responsible people have the ability to admit when they've made a mistake or have done something wrong. They also don't pass the blame onto other people or make excuses for why they did something wrong; responsible people just own up to what they did, apologize, and then make sure it never happens again.
Responsible employees can help increase an organization's productivity levels by making sure tasks are completed in a timely manner, while also allowing employees around them to feel confident that things are being taken care of as needed. Let's look at some ways you can evaluate whether or not an employee has this skill:
The ability to be a team player.
Hiring managers should be looking for the ability to be a team player. This is critical in almost every industry and job type. Knowing how to effectively work with others will always be an asset, so hiring someone who can demonstrate this skill is key to your company's success.
But what does "team player" mean?
The ability to take on different roles within a group. This can include leadership roles, but should also include the ability to ask questions and learn from others, as well as the tendency not to step over other people in order to get ahead or accomplish more.
The desire and ability to help others within the group succeed. Someone who can take satisfaction from their own accomplishments but not at someone else's expense is going to have a much easier time working with other employees than someone who only cares about their own career advancement goals.
When you hire, look for people interested in being part of your team and who want to do their best work.