Hiring a good employee for your small business can be a daunting task. As a small business owner I have gone through the arduous task of selecting a new employee. Let me tell you right now, it is a very difficult and uneasy process. As a small business owner you have to have complete faith that your new employee will not only be able to fulfill the tasks required to maintain and grow your business, but that they are independent, easy to instruct, and simple to deal with. I currently have 4 part time employees for my drop shipping company and I will tell you the first 10 things I looked for before I hired each one.
Top 10 Qualities To Look for in Your First Employee
(#1) Quick Learner
A quick learning employee is very important. Not only will it save you time during training, but it will also prevent you from reiterating previous instructions in the future. This is a time and money save in the short and long term.
Having an employee that doesn't require constant monitoring and can be easily relied upon when they are alone or not being watched is very important. Obviously this does not only save you time and money but it also relieves the stress of keeping a "hawks eye" on your employee.
This by far is one of the most important trait you could possible have in any employee. Being able to trust an employee does not only keep you from being stressed out about what they are doing, but it also prevents theft and loss. Looking for honesty in an employee is not always easy. Even a clean record does not always determine a persons level of honesty. References are one of the best ways to determine a persons character and they must be real references. Parents will often be honest about their childs attitude and behavior in life and will not lie for them. Asking for parental references even for adults over 18 can be a great start in determining honesty levels.
(#4) Trusted Family Friend
Hiring a trusted family friend is one of the best ways to go. Hire someone that you know and is a friend of your families. Don't hire someone who is "buddy buddy" with you as close friends and close family are more likely to slack off. A close family friend is personally close to you in a way but since you don't usually see them all the time it makes it easier to give them directions without them becoming argumentative or loathing.
(#5) Takes Directions Well
A head strong individual can be great for sales (maybe), or a large corporation, but if you want a good employee in a small business you don't want someone who wants to be the boss. Obviously you want an employee that would like to improve themselves within your business, but as a small business owner it is important that the employee you hire is able to take directions without trying to debate or confront you. This can cause problems and ultimately lead to them being fired such as I have done to some of my employees in the past.
(#6) Flexible Schedule and Availability
You may be tempted to hire someone who claims they can handle working for you and have a second job at the same time but you will likely regret it. Try to hire a person who does not currently have another job. They will be less likely to walk out on you or call in due to fatigue or being "sick". A second job is not the only thing that prevents someone from being able to get to work when they are scheduled. Try and figure out what kind of life they live; are they going to school, what kind of social events do they attend and things like that. The job you are offering may not be for everybody and you need to make sure that the potential employee you hire has a lifestyle that will fit your needs.
(#7) Looks and Attitude are NOT Everything
This of course depends on what type of work you need someone for but in general, if you are a small business, do not base your employment practices on looks and attitude alone. Some of the best employees I ever had were quiet and very average in appearance. This does not mean that a attractive and energetic individual can not make a good employee by any means. All this means is that basing who you hire off of the amount of energy someone has or how attractive they are can be a big mistake. Try to look at the individuals character and irrespective of whether or not they look good. Also, some of the most confrontational employees I have ever had were the most energetic. This is not to say that every energetic person is going to be confrontational, I am just trying to make a point.
(#8) No Drugs, Little or No Alcohol
This almost goes without saying, but to often I see businesses hire someone who has a bad habit and this leads to potential losses from theft or laziness and cutting corners. Do not hire an employee who uses any sort of drug and try to find out their drinking habits before you hire them. I personally go out and have some drinks on the weekends or even during the weeks so long as it does not impact my ability to manage my business. You need to make sure the person you hire has a similar attitude.
(#9) No Recent Criminal Background
There is a very good reason many businesses do not hire people with recent criminal backgrounds (usually anything, including misdemeanors, that happened within 5 years). Statistics do not lie and criminals are more likely or subvert the system that you have in place. This is not to say that people with no criminal backgrounds will not do the same but hiring someone with a clean record will keep you on the safe side.
(#10) Treat Your Employees with RESPECT and Keep them Motivated!
Paying your first employee a decent wage, treating them respect, offering incentives for good performance, congratulating them on a job well done and treating them in a humane and respectful way will go a long way. Remember this, your employee is NOT your subservient and is in no way below you. You and your employee are mutually benefiting each other and you are not above them. You are trading your money for their work and you may be their boss but you must have respect for your employees or you will find yourself with employees walking out on the job, not responding to their schedule and subverting the system you have in place that keeps your business going.
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