What To Look For (And Look Out For) In A New Hire

Small business owners often have to wear many hats, including recruitment and hiring. Finding the right employees who will help your business grow can be a challenging task, but it is critical for the success of your company. Any potential new hire should add value to your small business, and therefore, it is essential to look for the right traits and qualities that will make them a valuable employee. In this guide, we'll discuss what to look for and what to look out for when hiring for your small business, and also provide tips for finding the right employees.

Key Qualities to Look for in New Hires


This one seems obvious, but it's so obvious many potential employers forget to check for it. References from former employers can be a big help here. Did the person show up on time for work? Did they take excessive sick days? Why did they leave their last job? You can save yourself a lot of pain by being sure to check references!


Does the person seem enthusiastic about joining the team? Have they done any research into your company and what it does? Do they have some idea of what will be expected of them in their new position? Having done some research into the company they're applying to shows another important quality in a new hire...



Will the new hire be a self-starter? Will they, of their own accord, seek more work to do when their own projects are done? Do they volunteer relevant information and ideas at the interview, or do they wait in silence for you to ask questions?

Communication Skills

Is it easy to communicate with the potential hire? Was their resume and/or cover letter coherent? Can they present a positive image of themselves? Can they carry on a conversation?

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Does the person seem like a good fit with the rest of the team? Does it seem like their views align with the company's core values?


This should be a given. Do they greet you politely? Do they wait for you to finish speaking without interrupting? Were they pleasant and courteous to the receptionist? Good manners are an absolute must in a new hire. Even if they won't be dealing with the public, they'll be interacting with the rest of the team members, and courtesy is essential for working together as a team.


Does your potential new hire seem open to creativity? Can they answer a few problem-solving questions related to your business?

As well as what to look for, there are a few things you should look out for in a new hire, such as:

Lack of Courtesy

We're reiterating this topic because it's that important. If a person can't show courtesy and simple good manners in a job interview, of all things, there's no way they'll be civil and courteous to their clients and co-workers.

Lack of Eye Contact

Unless you're aware of special needs, a person should be able to maintain eye contact during a job interview.

Lack of Relevant Experience

While some jobs are specifically earmarked for trainees, most jobs require a minimum of experience in what's being asked of them. Be communicative about the level of experience you expect from your applicants, and check resumes to be sure it's there.

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Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on February 16, 2021, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.