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What to Look for to Ensure You Hire the Best Employees

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Getting ready to hire a new employee is an exciting step for any small business. The prospect of a new hire brings the promise of business growth, service expansion, and elevated company culture, to name a few. But finding the right person to not only get the job done, but to do it with expertise and enthusiasm is harder than it sounds.

Depending on your industry, available position, and the current job market, you may find yourself either overwhelmed with applications or running into recruiting dead-ends over and over again. No matter your current prospect list, keeping your eye on the prize is of the utmost importance — after all, turnover can be incredibly costly.

In this post, we’ll be discussing some of the top characteristics employers should look for in job applicants and share some tips to help you refine your applicant pool.

1. Strong work ethic

Employees with a strong work ethic are not only more likely to get their work done more efficiently and precisely than other applicants, but they’re also typically more committed and passionate about their work, too.

So, how do you tell if an applicant has a strong work ethic?  Use these indicators to help you identify hard-working individuals:

● High-productivity — Ask applicants about their productivity levels or how they increased efficiency at their last job.● Punctuality — If an applicant is late to arrive at their interview, chances are they’ll have a pretty lax view on their work hours, too.● Rewards and recognition — When looking at a candidate’s resume, look for rewards, recognition, and promotion to assess their work ethic.● Problem-solving skills — Asking about specific work-scenarios is a great way to evaluate work ethic and skills in an interview. Consider situations that may happen in a given day in this position and ask how the applicant would handle it — their answer will give you a lot of perspective!

2. Growth-driven mindset

We briefly touched on the importance of rewards and recognition, but we really can’t underestimate how crucial it is to search for employees who have a strong growth-driven mindset. Candidates who were promoted to leadership positions or took on additional projects or responsibilities often demonstrate this kind of philosophy and passion.

In addition to promotion, a growth-driven mindset may also refer to how the individual thinks about the workplace, operations, and the industry in general. These individuals tend to be pretty innovative which is great to have when issues arise or you want to rethink structure.

3. A shining employment record

Understanding an applicant’s past employment is a great way to predict the kind of employee that they’ll be if hired at your place of business. While people grow and learn, it’s still important to consider their relationships with previous employers and allow them to explain their successes and missteps. The easiest and standard way to assess employment records is through background checks. Typically, individual a background check costfrom $0-10 for employers, which is a worthwhile investment when you consider the costs of hiring and training the wrong employee.

In addition to looking at their criminal and employment records, you may also consider calling references for your top candidates. Getting to know an applicant’s personal and professional network a little better can help you make a more informed final decision.

4. Demonstrated skills

If you’re hiring a position that relies on expertise in a certain skill such as engineering, writing, or designing, you may want to run through a pre-employment skills test with your final round of applicants. This assessment can help hiring managers identify candidates with the caliber of skills they’re looking for.

5. Good cultural fit

Company culture has become a really important piece of the modern workplace. Between work ethic and style to political philosophies and personalities, finding someone that “jives” with your culture is critical for retention. Have your applicants take an online personality test to kick off the interview process — this also makes for a fun and informative ice breaker for both interviewers and interviewees!

Finding a standout employee that’s in it for the long haul isn’t always easy to do, but with these five tips you’ll be on the fast-track in no time!


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