After having successfully launched several companies during my career, here are the 10 things that I look for in a new hire.
1. Shares My Passion
This is one of the most important qualities that I look for in a new hire. While this doesn't always mean that they are the biggest fans of my work or services; they at least need to be enthusiastic and share my vision for where the business is headed. This is something that even iconic entrepreneurs like Richard Branson look for as well. Branson has stated that "the key to finding the right people to hire is to look for those who are energised by your passion, want to add to your ideas and aren't afraid to suggest ways to improve them."
2. Are on the Quirky Side
I am not looking for a 'yes' man or woman. I want someone who is going to think outside of the box and push boundaries. When a new hire walks through the door or contacts me and seems a bit on the quirky side, it's a sign that this could be someone who is going to bring a lot of creative and unique ideas to my business.
3. Committed to My Company
I don't want to have a high turnover rate with employees. I want people who want to become a part of my team for the long-haul. Not someone just bouncing from job to job until they find something better. That's why I pay close attention to an applicant's previous job history. If there's a pattern of constantly moving from job to job, that may someone who isn't committed to my company.
What business owner wouldn't want an employee who is going to go above and beyond for the company? Ambitious people aren't just hard workers, they've motivated and driven to make the business run more efficiently and constantly looking for ways to make it stronger. They're also resilient and will find ways to overcome challenges. It may be difficult to spot ambition in an applicant, but as Kristi Hedges points out in Forbes, you can look at:
- The applicant's previous work history. Did they move up the chain? Were they there for a long time?
- What are their outside interests? If they dedicated to marathons or learning a new trait, they're probably a driven individual.
- How they responded to failure? What obstacles have they overcome?
- References that weren't on the record, such as LinkedIn connection.
5. Previous Experience
This is a give-in, especially when I'm looking for someone with a specific set of skills, such as a graphic designer or computer programmer. I want to be 100% that they can handle the tasks that I assign them. That's not to say that someone with limited work experience, such as a recent grad, isn't qualified to work for my company. In that case, I would find out if they had any internships that has given them at least some sort of real-world experience.
6. Eager to Learn
Lifelong learners can become valuable assists to a business since they're constantly learning new skills and traits that they can bring to the table. Besides that, lifelong learners are great at time management, prioritizing tasks, and problem solving. You can spot a lifelong learner by going over their resume. How many degrees do they have? Have they continued their education and earned a certification? Or, you can just ask them if they keep up with current events, are voracious readers, or have taken any sort of class that enhances their lives are either personally or professionally? I find that the best hires are ones with unicorn mentalities.
7. Aren't Concerned With Job Descriptions
I'll keep this short and sweet. You're paying an employee to work. Not hold a position. Let's say that you hire a social media manager and that's all they're concerned with - and not lending a helping hand like writing a blog post when in crunch - then that's someone that I don't want to be on my team.
8. Strong Character
Is this someone that you can trust? Are they honest, responsible, and have integrity? Do they work well with others? These are all signs that the applicant has a strong character. And that's definitely someone that I want on my team. In fact, psychologists have found that people who possess intelligence, drive, sociability, capacity for intimacy, happiness, and goodness are all clues into whether or not that they have a strong character. Pay extra close attention to these clues, such as humor and abstract thinking, during the hiring process.
9. Knowledge about Me and My Company
For me, there's no excuse for a new hire to know a little information about me or my company. We live in a world where that information can readily be discovered thanks to social media, company blogs, Wikipedia, and databases like CrunchBase. I expect them to do their do diligence and a little digging. It may sound creepy. But, maybe we have a mutual connection. Perhaps that noticed that my blog has a theme that isn't mobile friendly. This is information that I want to know.
When I bring in a new hire, I ask myself one final question, "Is this someone that I like?" We're going to be spending a lot of time together and if personalities don't mesh and we're constantly at odds, do you think they we'll be productive and efficient?
That doesn't mean that I want a clone. It means that this is someone that I actually like and look forward to collaborating with on a daily basis. Even if they aren't the most talented at their position, I would sacrifice that in order to have a more pleasant and productive work environment.