Knowing what to prioritize when filtering through job applicants is tough. Do you privilege experience over education? Skills over personality? Dependability over desirability?
Ultimately, you need a delicate blend of all these qualifications in a New Hire and will need to rely on your gut.

There are some qualities you’ll want to keep a keen eye out for, though, so if you need help weeding out the good candidates from the bad, ask yourself the following questions.

What to Look in your New Hire

Do they Communicate Well?

Some hiring managers get too distracted by aesthetic resume templates and overlook the real first impression: the applicant’s level of responsiveness and quality of communication. Was their cover letter combed over to ensure no careless grammar or spelling mistakes made their way into the final draft? A sloppy application may be indicative of a sloppier work performance. Are they intently responsive, replying promptly and professionally to your emails? Not only is this a common courtesy, but it shows an expression of genuine interest in the job.

When your candidate comes in for an interview, make note of their social interaction skills.

Someone who responds thoughtfully after being addressed, politely greets others, says “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” will set an applicant apart from the rest. You want to make sure your new hire will be able to interact effortlessly with your customers and team members, so use the interview as a test trial.

Are they Confident?

As you observe social and communication skills, watch for their nonverbal communication and behavior, as well. This type of language includes:

  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Paralinguistics (tone of voice, loudness, inflection, pitch)
  • Body language
  • Posture
  • Proxemics (“personal space”)
  • Eye gaze
  • Haptics (communication through touch)
  • Appearance

You want to hire someone who exudes an air of confidence and leadership, without displaying the quality of egotism. Look out for a candidate who sits up straight, can maintain eye contact, and speak without their voice wavering. Of course some applicants might be nervous, so fidgety hands shouldn’t be automatic grounds for disqualification. However, if someone comes into the office appearing disheveled and uncomely, they clearly did not put the effort into their interview expected from a professional and should be reconsidered—no matter how amazing they might have seemed on paper.

Can they Pass a Pre-Employment Screening?

With respect to solid resumes, never assume they’re truthful. Applicants have proven time and time again to either exaggerate their resume or straight out lie. Before bringing someone in for an interview, call and check their references as well as former employers; an applicant may list working as a manager at a restaurant when truthfully they never made it past shift lead (if they actually worked there at all). While screening your batch of applicants, don’t forget to perform and employee criminal record check from a company like ShareAble for Hires on every single candidate. Even if their information checks out. Don’t let a polished appearance or sparkling resume distract you from this critical element of the hiring process. You can never be sure if someone is violent, dangerous, or displays a background of suspicious behavior. You need to trust your new hire, and conducting a background check is your best shot at doing so.

Is Their Employment History Stable?

As you pour over resumes, don’t just look at job titles and company names; pay close attention to periods of employment, as well. You want to look for a candidate who displays a stable employment history, not someone who appears to jump from job to job. Someone with a tenured track record displays the quality of loyalty and, if hired, will be more likely to invest personal interest in your company’s success. When you contact their former employers and verify their job held, don’t forget to ask if they’re eligible for rehire. If they’re not, it’s definitely a red flag. They likely burned bridges with their former boss, and although you might not get a full explanation, should be concerned that the same might happen to you. Ask your candidate why they left their last job and to explain any prolonged periods of unemployment. They should offer strong answers, such as “lack of upward mobility” or “relocation” versus trivial replies.

Hiring the wrong employee is much worse than choosing the wrong POS system or accounting software. Your business is your baby, and it’s held in the hands of your employees. Trusting the wrong person can have long-term consequences, so keep your eye out for these qualities during your next round of interviews in order to feel more confident about your next job offer.

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