Hiring great employees is one of the greatest challenges for most service business owners. It’s hard! Recruitment can be time consuming and costly. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh warns that one bad hire can be devastating. He estimates that his own bad hires have cost Zappos well over $100 million!
The cost of a bad hire is more than just financial because one bad apple spoils the bunch! Just one disengaged employee can affect everyone on the team. Some may work harder to make up for the shortcomings of the new hire. And some will grow to resent that. Some may even quit. Others may slow down to work at the same pace as the new recruit. And, if the bad apple is critical, lazy or has a bad attitude, those things can spread quickly too.
We stopped hiring bad apples and you can too. Now, we look for certain qualities in new hires that give us a good indication that they could become loyal, long-term team members. Here are seven standout traits you can look for as you screen new hires.
When you’re designing the culture, standing by a strong brand promise and executing on your vision, be sure to hire people who are enthusiastically interested in working for your company. Most people working in the trades would be eager to work for a company determined to be the best in their field. Tell them about your company and vision to see if it excites them.
Willingness to learn, adapt and change
As you grow your business and then scale it, you need employees who are willing to learn new ways of doing things, to follow systems and to be able to adapt and change the way they do things.
Even if most of your service technicians work most jobs alone, you want all of them consistently delivering WOW-level service to your customers and that requires teamwork. You need team members who are willing and able to help others on the team so they can all succeed together. Hiring events give you a better chance to see candidates interacting with different people in your company.
Verbal communication skills
Nearly everyone in your company needs to be able to make things clear to your customers so be sure to ask candidates how they would explain sample recommendations to customers.
Employees who like what they do will do a great job regardless of the external rewards. Look for that pride in their work as well as ambition. Find the recruits who will go above and beyond what is asked of them.
Before quickly hiring someone that can take care of one particular job, consider whether the candidate would be able to take on new tasks and learn how to do other jobs as well. Look for recruits that can meet your company’s current and future needs.
It just takes one bad apple to undermine the culture you’ve been designing. Consider whether a candidate will “fit” with the team you’ve been building—group hiring events can help you evaluate this. Culture fit includes enthusiastic interest and being a team player, but it’s also about getting a sense of the person and trusting your gut.
Every new hire you make can strengthen your team and improve your culture. Look for these seven qualities, but add to this list as you determine what you need in your team members to take your service business to the next level.