What to Look for in a Good Employee

When it is time to hire, oftentimes we reflect on the employees we wish we could “clone,” hoping our next hire will be the quality talent we want and need. Of course, we want them to be able to perform the tasks required, but we also need them to be a good fit culturally, meaning they are a personality match as well. However, personality isn’t seen on a résumé. And, despite our bet interviewing efforts, we still have made choices in the past that didn’t really work out. So, what should you be looking for in a good employee?  As a premiere staffing agency in Denver, here are our hiring and interviewing suggestions to help you.

Traits of a Good Employee

A résumé will cover the hard skills — those technical skills and understanding that helps the employee do the tasks at hand. Depending on the level of skill required, some employers do tests or even ask the employee to do a physical demonstration of the skill. For example, a plumbing company may ask the candidate to replace a p-trap and demonstrate there are no water leaks when completed. Other employers may ask the candidate how they would respond to a specific situation.

These types of questions and requests are great at determining task based skills and should line up with the job description. Having the potential employee demonstrate true and accurate outcomes is an ideal way to hire. Keep in mind, however, that training can resolve any holes in technical skills, but attitudes and soft skills aren’t easy to change. It’s for this reason employers need to spend time interviewing for those traits, too.

More than a Button Pusher

If you hire anyone who can simply perform the task, you are doing everyone a disservice. Clearly, there must be ways to interview the candidate for soft skills as well. These questions must not be based on gender, age, race or any other discriminatory criteria, but rather focus wholly on determining an organizational fit.

Begin by getting clear about the culture of the company. Are you innovative or old-fashioned? Are you customer-focused or efficient? Are you safe or fun? These are traits that likely show up in your Mission, Vision or Values Statements. Use interview questions that allow the candidate to answer in a way that demonstrates those values. For example, if ‘innovation’ is a company value, ask your candidate to explain what ‘innovation’ means to him or her. Ask your candidates about a time when they were innovative.

The Value of Interviewing for Soft Skills

Additional soft skills to gauge for include: time management, communication, organization, problem-solving, stress management, attention to detail, empathy, listening, and others. Consider what traits are important in a candidate for the position, and gear your questions to discover those attitudes, beliefs, and actions related to those skills. Series of questions, rather than single ones, help candidates go a bit deeper and reveal more information about themselves. A series of related questions could be:

How would you handle a situation where the traffic was bad, and you knew you were going to be late to work? What would you do if the traffic situation got worse? Once you got to work, how would you get all your work done, given you are behind and likely frustrated?

Questions like these, although they seem unrelated to work, demonstrate how the applicants handle adversity, communication, and organization. Don’t be afraid to stretch the questions to get to the heart of each candidate’s work ethic. This may take longer than a standard interview but leads to better quality hiring.

If you are in search of brilliant employees, let Colorado Network Staffing (CNS) help you find your right fit. CNS is a leader in staffing, staff augmentation, and contract management by acting as a sole human resource provider for our clients. Don’t waste your time, energy, and money on a bad hire. CNS has the experience, resources, and top-level management expertise to accomplish the tasks required on any size project. Contact us at 303-430-1441, and we’ll find you the best and brightest team members.

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