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Traits Small Business Owners Should Look for When Hiring

Building the right team is the key to success for small business owners. However, that's not always as easy as it sounds. Finding the right people -- and the right qualities can be very difficult, but fortunately, Joseph Brady, Vice President of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, has some tips on how the traits that small business owners should look for when hiring. 


Guest Author: Joseph Brady, Vice President of Digital Marketing, Reliant Funding

The employees of a business are a crucial resource that can make or break your business. Unfortunately, most budding small business owners have no idea what to look for when hiring. They might assume that an academic degree, a few years of work experience and likeability are the most important factors for consideration but this is not always so.

The decision to recruit someone is a crucial one, and a misstep can be expensive. Understanding the state of small business hiring and whether an employee is a good cultural fit or not can influence the hiring decision.

Here are eight traits small business owners should consider when hiring:

  • Enthusiasm: True excitement is difficult to fake and this is the first trait to look for. If a candidate shows enthusiasm for a specific role in your business, then it is likely that they can be considered as a long term fit. Enthusiasm doesn’t mean beaming smiles throughout the interview process. It can be simply conveyed through the way the candidate talks about the role he/she is interviewing for. Interviewers should recognize genuine enthusiasm when they see it.
  • Curiosity: A good employee adheres to regulations and follows directions but still expresses curiosity about the way things are done. An interviewee who comes to the interview with questions about the designation clearly cares about their own fit, and also the potential for learning and growth. Look for someone who is open and excited to grow and learn, as opposed to someone who comes in thinking that they already know everything.
  • Flexibility: Small business owners often look for people who say they’re willing to take on tasks and roles outside of what’s in their job description. Candidates should be willing to step outside of their comfort zone and learn to develop new skills when called upon to do so.
  • Ambition: Evaluate whether the candidate has the drive and ambition to move onto bigger and better things. They could be a fresher or someone with prior work experience, but they should work with the desire to grow, level up and become a more integral part of the organization.
  • Integrity: No one wants to hire a candidate who steals from them, or detract from the business with unethical behavior. A commitment to integrity is difficult to guarantee, but it’s essential to state its importance to assure employers that they’re trusting the right person.
  • Resourcefulness: Creative problem-solving and out of the box thinking are essential when working for a small business. Small businesses face problems that arise at a moment’s notice, without an apparent resolution. Evaluate candidates based on the times they have helped previous employers or colleagues out of a jam. It will demonstrate their ability to think critically and progress in the face of adversity.
  • Experimentalism: Experimentalism goes in close association with resourcefulness. Are the candidates willing to learn new apps, programs, platforms, tools, etc and increase efficiency? Do they want to be the one trying a new practice or method, even if it leads to failure? Being experimental, especially when your small business is growing and trying to differentiate itself from competitors, is a huge bonus.
  • Soft skills: While most employees would possess hard skills such as programming and operation, they may lack soft skills or interpersonal skills that every employee should have such as empathy, listening, communication, and leadership. While it is important that your employees be capable of the job, working in a business involves much more “people” skills, and it’s necessary your employees have that. 

Remember that your employees are the faces that people see representing your business. They determine your success and will largely dictate the type of growth that you have in the years to come.

The opinions of our guest bloggers are their own and not those of 1871. Joseph Brady is Vice President of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, a provider of short-term working capital to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide. He has more than 14 years of experience in B2B digital marketing, optimization, and operations, with a focus in the financial services market. 

Topics: Insights

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