7 Key Characteristics to Look for in a New Hire

High staff turnovers can really set your team back and limit your progress. On the other hand, retaining staff who do not deliver will run your business to the ground. So what are obvious characteristics to look for in a new hire to prevent this? As a small business coach, I always insist that managers be very careful when attracting and sourcing for new hires. The application and interview process should provide some insights to the characters of the interviewees.

A startup needs team players to gel all aspects of the business into one fluid operation. You need leaders who can help direct the future of the firm. You need intelligent innovators who will make your products better and enhance customer satisfaction. There are 7 very specific characteristics I would advise managers to never compromise on.

1. Team-Oriented

A firm is usually a collection of many different individuals with varying skills and personalities. It only makes sense to hire diverse characters to make your business more robust.

You have the geek running one department, the extrovert running another and want the two of them to project synergy. Thus, you will only want to bring on board people who work and play well with others.

Assess all employees based on their tolerance for other cultures, religions, and divergent ways of thinking. Only hire individuals that can empathize with those who are different. This quality will help your team react to market shifts and to reach out to different market segments.

2. Self-Motivated

One of the first questions I usually ask my Titanium Success business coaching services clients is “What gets you out of bed every day?” There is nothing worse than giving someone a job they feel is not a right fit for them.

When one lacks motivation to perform their duties, the job suffers. The manager will be spending extra time and effort following up on even the simplest tasks. The employee will keep forgetting key processes and deliberately ignoring some. Quality will suffer as the employee seeks short cuts.

That’s why this is one of the fundamental characteristics to look for in a new hire. You need members on your team who feel they fit the job description provided. Your hire should feel motivated to come to work and perform outstandingly. A self-motivated individual will not only perform to set standards, but will always strive to provide higher quality.

3. Effective Communicators

As an employer, you need accurate and timely information about your firm, your products, and your employees. You need employees who will communicate clearly what they need to perform their duties. Your biggest asset is an employee who can clearly understand your stated needs and tie that in with the client’s demands.

If an employee is dishonest, this will negatively affect your brand and the firm’s performance. If your employee withholds information or only provides it at the last minute, it will lead to lots of disappointments.

Thus, a key requirement is effective communication. Whether it is written, verbal, or nonverbal, communication has to be clear. That clarity in expressing ideas should be clear even in emails, social media, and text messages.

Your hire should also be able to adhere to communication norms. For example, the use of slang can be limited to appropriate audiences. The use of reasonably good grammar can’t be overstated for more formal audiences.

4. Organized

Organized individuals is one of the key characteristics to look for in a new hire, as it makes working with them a pleasure. Their work stations are usually clean and pleasant to be in. An organized hire pays keen attention to detail. They will keep accurate accounts and investigate any anomalies, errors, and ambiguities.

Every team needs at least one highly organized individual. This helps in adhering to work processes and providing uniform high quality results. Organized hires are punctual, accurate, and clear in their communication.

5. Long Term Potential

High staff turnover is an expensive affair. You have to constantly put a recruiting team together, pay out dues, negotiate fresh terms, and start (re)training afresh.

As a hiring manager, you should be looking to retain clients as long as possible. When hiring, look for traits that point towards longevity and commitment. It is for this reason that most employers will want to see a college diploma/degree. It shows the person can stick to long term goals successfully.

6. Passion

This is related to characteristic #2 (Self-motivated). Your firm needs to be staffed with people who are passionate and highly enthusiastic about what they do. Such people can be identified even during the interview session as their successes will always shine through.

People who are passionate about what they do often work for more than just the paycheck. They are highly motivated to achieve perfection and normally stay longer at the company than those who lack passion and enthusiasm.

7. Intellectual Curiosity

Dr. Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a business psychology professor at the University College London, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that Curiosity Quotient (CQ) is the third pillar in our ability to handle complexities. He identified the other two pillars as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Top business coaches value intellectual curiosity in their hires. These are employees who will always show a hunger to know more, discover more, and do more. These are the kinds of employees who will learn very fast about your firm’s processes. They will then ask questions on why you do things that particular way. These are the guys who will change the way you do things for the better.

Nevertheless, curiosity can either be a gift or a curse. If not directed and focused positively, curiosity can become a huge time-waster for the whole firm.

Characteristics to Look for in a New Hire: Advice From a Business Coach

Once you have received job applications, sift through carefully to shortlist prospective interviewees. Always check references to get a picture of past employment relationships. Once you have picked your ideal candidate, consider starting them on a short term contract first. This will enable you pick up on any traits, positive or negative, that you might have missed.

Above all, always listen to your gut. Even when a candidate interviews excellently but you have second thoughts, give it a pass. You can always interview more candidates. Eventually you will get the right hire, and will be glad you spent that extra time searching.


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