Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What to Look for in an Employee

Each employer dreams of hiring that mister or miss perfect for the job at hand. Someone who can multi-task, can answer phone calls while also spinning out emails, can reformat an entire spreadsheet document without formal training, and take over another’s responsibility in case of an emergency all at the same time. This is wishful thinking and is much too romanticized to become a reality in most situations. Especially concerning an economy that is not completely at full-strength, most employees are bitter, in debt, and looking to spend more times with the kids. The best and most productive workers, however, are able to veil this pessimism and make the workplace enjoyable for employers and employees alike. Although it is quite difficult to match a job and its corresponding employee perfectly, I’ve found there are certain qualities that can help the small business owner during the hiring process.
  • Positivity – You can generally tell how positive a person will be in the workplace by making simple observations during the interview process. Do they seem generally interested in the business you are selling to them (after all besides convincing you why they are the right fit, you are also convincing them why your business is the right fit for them)? Do they look you square in the eye and raise concerns or questions that may not have been answered yet. Is the person relaxed and easy-going, approachable, can take jokes at times, and decent enough to say good morning on the Monday prior to a saturated work week.
  • Timely – This one should be obvious of course, but never overlooked. Punctuality is crucial in the workplace. If an employee is showing up 10 minutes late to work each day, that comes out to 400 hours of work lost per year per employee. Of course, no one works every single weekday, so this calculation doesn’t account for sick, vacation, paid off days, etc. but still gives you a good perspective of time lost. Ask the question upfront during the interview. If the worker is honest, like they should be, and tells you they have trouble showing up to work on time, then maybe you’ll need to weigh that in while deciding who to hire.
  • Independent – Is this potential employee what I like to call, a “momma’s boy”? If they can handle stress, pressure, and expanded responsibilities well and without having to ask for administrative help, this is a positive quality. If this is not the case, and you need to hold their hand through each major happening throughout the day, the minutes (which quickly turn to hours) that you or other advisers could have spent on other tasks may have been lost.
  • Work well with others – You want each worker to produce positive “auras” around their workplace, which improves the attitude of other workers and creates such an environment that is not only productive but also a friendly place to work. Employees that drag down other employees, whether that complaining about the job at hand or destructive criticism aren’t the kind that you want in the office on those tough work-heavy days. Employees need to exhibit some type of self-restraint. Often work is not fun, enjoyable, or even remotely palatable. But if this can be veiled temporarily or until off work, then the rest of the office doesn’t have to suffer the same negativity.
Hopefully these tips added some type of value to any of your small business owners out there. These are my core tips for hiring the right employee. If you’ve got any other suggestions, let us know in the comments below!About the author:

Miles Hall loves writing about the business world. He contributes to, and is primarily interested in businesses for sale.

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