What to look for in a future high-potential employee

Searching for a new employee can be exciting because of the potential of finding a great candidate who helps your organization develop and grow. However, the hiring process can also be an incredibly stressful, and difficult experience. After all, you don’t want to hire the wrong person. What if the person you hire is not a good team fit? What if they’re not reliable or if they don’t have what it takes to succeed on the job? OR what if they’re not in it for the long haul? That’s where the importance of the screening and recruiting process comes into play. But what are the signs of a future rock star and what are the red flags of a potential dud?

We all set out to hire the best of the best, but it seems like it doesn’t always work out that way. To increase your chances of hiring a future star, it all comes to being discerning during the interview process. Don’t rush to hire someone who’s not the right fit just because you’re worried about being temporarily short-staffed. In the long run, you’re better off spending a little more time searching for the right candidate who goes above and beyond, rather than accepting a lackluster employee who underperforms. There are a few important qualities I always seek out when hiring, and they may not be what you would expect.

  1. I’m looking for someone who loves the work they do and is excited to join my company – because that means they’re likely to work harder, do a better job, and stay in the position long after they’re hired.
  2. Willingness to learn. The right candidate doesn’t have to fit 100% of everything you’re seeking for the role – as long as they’re able and willing to learn. Look for those who have initiative and a demonstrated history of seeking out learning opportunities in past positions.
  3. Team fit. If the person you’re considering is a loner and your current team is full of closely-knit extroverts, this may not be a good fit for all parties.
  4. Another important consideration is whether you think this person will be easy to manage and coach. Believe it or not, I’d rather hire someone with a good attitude who may not be a perfect fit, but who is capable of improvement and growth. Rather than a worker with a bad attitude problem because that negativity will infect the entire workspace around them.
  5. I want to know that the person I’m hiring wants to grow with my company. The last thing I want is to be hiring for the same role a year from now after my hire decides to move on to greener pastures.

Finally, don’t neglect to do your due diligence. You should always follow up on the professional references your candidate provides. I’ve seen companies who don’t reach out to their candidate’s contacts to gauge how the person was in their previous roles, which is a huge oversight. Some references may feel reluctant to criticize someone’s job performance, so ask carefully crafted questions which will draw those answers out:

  • Would you hire this person again?
  • What was their greatest weakness and strength?
  • How would you rate their skill level compared to the others on your team?

You’ll also probably want to know the basics, such as that this person was punctual, completed projects correctly and on time, and behaved respectfully.

I’m here to help increase your chances of hiring a rock star employee. Don’t hesitate to contact me if your business requires in-depth help in crafting a compelling job posting and sifting through the potential candidates. I can give you, even more, experience-based best practices drawn from my years as a business owner.