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Michael Patterson

Michael Patterson is a speaker, trainer, and author of the book “Sit Stay Succeed! Management Lessons From Man’s Best Friend," which offers an innovative approach to employee development -- treat them like dogs! Visit him at mikepat.com

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List the 20 Traits You Want in Your Next Hire

by May 30, 2013, 5:58 am ET

Try this for your next hire: have a manager come up with a list of about 20 different traits she’d like to have in the new employee who’ll take the job. Consider the work environment and performance expectations: What skills and traits does an employee need to possess to excel at the job? Be specific.

After the list is complete, you and the manager can go back and put a letter “T” next to the ones in which you are able and willing to train. Of the remaining traits, circle the ones that are non-negotiable, must-have traits. From the ones circled, put a star next to your top five.

You can always train a new employee to perform a task (if you are willing), but hiring an employee who doesn’t possess the same values as you or your organization will be problematic in the long run. After aligning your values and attitudes, focus on the individual’s skills and abilities. Competencies to look for include reading comprehension, math skills, computer skills, decision making, flexibility, and interpersonal skills. Consider which skills are essential, which tasks are performed occasionally, and which are not necessary for the job.

Determine how much experience and education are needed to fill the position and address specific needs. Some jobs can allow for a training period, while others require the employee to hit the ground running almost from Day 1. Even the employee with the best credentials will need a period of time to get adjusted to your organization’s specific culture.

Some people were made to be accountants, some to be salespeople, and others to work with their hands. Putting people in a position which is not the right fit for their skills, abilities, and personalities is sure to create coaching needs in the future.