Running a small business can be risky which is why you need to hire the right people to ensure success. It is important to make a list of new hire traits and skills you want when interviewing applicants. Running a small business can be risky. You need the right people in place to ensure success. Here are five new hire traits you should look for when recruiting for your small business.

1. Communication

Most job ads ask for good communication skills; it is the most important new hire trait. The reason for this is because employees need to be able to communicate with all types of people in many different situations. Furthermore, you want people who can understand different communication styles.

Some findings from a recent study by The Economist found:

  • Poor communication impacts the business. Additionally, bad communication can cause failure to complete projects on time, low morale, missed performance goals, and lost sales.
  • The use of social media and instant messaging reflects a gap between generations and communication tools.
  • Middle managers tend to be affected the most by communication barriers. They are also the ones communicating between senior level and junior employees.
  • Different communication styles, unclear directions, and time pressures are the three most probable causes of poor communication.

How do you find employees with great communication skills?

There is a time and a place for different types of communication techniques. Ask your applicant questions on which communication method they would use for different scenarios. Additionally, you don’t want a leader who only communicates by text, but you also don’t want someone who only wants to talk face-to-face. Someone with great communication techniques should know the right style to use at the right time as well.

For instance, identify the communication skills you need for your business. You may want someone with great face-to-face speaking skills. However, you may not need someone that has great public speaking skills. Will they conduct meetings? Or will they do large presentations?

Does your employee mainly work offsite? If they do, texting and emailing may be the best method in those scenarios. Know what style works best for your business.

2. Leadership 

Leadership is an important new hire trait. One bad manager in your business can cause many problems. Plus, you may have increased turnover, higher absenteeism, and low productivity. Every employee isn’t going to be hired to be a leader. However, you want to know some employees can be developed into great leaders.

For small businesses, it is important to determine what you need now and what you may need in the future. Identify the leadership skills which are important for you in your business. If you hire someone who isn’t expected to lead now, do you see traits through your questions that suggest they could be a leader in the future? Where do they want to go in your company? 

You do not want someone who can’t communicate or who micromanages. When hiring leaders for your business, you should be hiring or promoting A-players. Great leaders inspire others. Furthermore, they should continually communicate their vision and the company’s vision to ensure success. They motivate others and they help people win.

How do you find employees with great leadership skills?

A great leader will be able to give clear objectives and goals. Plus, they should hold employees accountable to ensure those goals occur. Because of this, your interview questions should ask direct questions using different scenarios. 

Brainstorm important qualities you want in a leader and develop interview questions to help you find those qualities and traits. Also, ask for specific examples for when they wrote someone up or worked with an employee to develop their performance goals.

3. Teamwork

According to Gallup:

  • Individuals who know their strengths work together to form better partnerships. Good partnerships also create stronger teams.
  • The strengths and dynamics of your team affects your business.
  • If a team is strong, your business will have higher engagement, lower absenteeism, and lower turnover.

You want someone who likes the idea of working with others in a team environment. This is an important new hire trait. Also, does your company have people who will wear many hats and work with others? It is vital to find those who can work on a team in most business settings. As a small business, working in teams to achieve a goal is important. 

How do you find employees who can work well in a team?

Great team members don’t just tell you their successes. They can tell you everyone’s successes on that team. When interviewing, ask them about some team projects they worked on. Are they complimenting their team members?

Ask them to describe other team members and what they contributed to the project. If they don’t know what others did on the project, then dig deeper. Also, don’t ask yes or no questions. Ask your applicant to describe different scenarios.

4. Customer-Focused

Every employee in your company must be customer focused and deliver great customer service. It may be that your employee is serving internal or external customers, but every person should know how to work with customers. 

As a business owner, think about what good and bad experiences you had and write those down. Did you make a phone call to a company and the person was indifferent and didn’t seem to care about your issues? What could your business do differently and what do you want for your business?

How do you find employees with great customer service skills?

Ask questions that will describe how they handled specific customer complaints. Make sure they also go into detail. How did they resolve those complaints? It is important to determine how they dealt with a difficult person. You should hire those that know how to turn someone’s bad experience into a good one. 

This also goes along with communication. Can an employee talk to a customer effectively? Do they also speak clearly and concisely? Furthermore, do they know how to handle the many customer scenarios which could occur?

You probably want likable people working for you and representing your business to others. Additionally, you want people who listen well, cooperate with others, and have great listening skills. Find those with great interpersonal skills to work for you and ensure they are customer focused. 

5. Results-Focused

Finally, in your small business, you want those who can deliver results for you. It is also important for your employees to finish their goals and achieve or overachieve goals. This is an important quality for all of your positions. If you set a goal, can they achieve it? Will they talk to you if they feel the goal is too high?

How do you find employees who can deliver results?

A good question to ask would be, “Tell me about a goal you had in your last role. How did you achieve it? As you were working towards your goal, what roadblocks did you encounter?”  Every person faces problems in their work. How did they get around them to achieve their goals? 

What systems do they have in place to help them deliver results? Also, do they keep records of their goals and their progress to their goals?

It is important to find new hire traits that align with your company culture. What new hire traits are needed to make your small business successful? Finally, make a list of new hire traits that are important to you and your company. Once you know exactly what you want, recruiting will be easier.