How To Hire New Employees: The Top 5 Qualities You Should Look For


Businesses across the country are frequently faced with the task of hiring new employees. No matter the industry, this job has become a prevalent challenge that too often plagues many companies. In fact, recent research determined that 45% of hiring managers find that they are regularly unable to fill much-needed positions due to an overall lack of qualified talent.

Not only must businesses regularly overcome the challenge of hiring new employees, but they must also seek to retain their current team and do their best to prevent employees from leaving for other opportunities. Let’s face it: Nothing is more frustrating for business than constantly having to train new employees.

The remedy? Hiring employees whose character and work ethic aligns with your business, making them quality matches who will stick around for the long haul. But what are those qualities that businesses should look for in new employees? How can those be uncovered in the interview process? Below, you will find the top five qualities that businesses should look out for when hiring new employees.

1. Overall Discipline

One of the most important traits that a prospective employee should possess is discipline, or self-control. This means that they should humbly exude confidence when describing their overall work ethic and commitment to getting things done. Does the candidate you’re interested in seem genuine in their responses? Do you believe that they would exhibit self-control in their work environment and be capable of accomplishing their responsibilities in a timely and comprehensive manner?

While it may be hard to get a gauge on this during an hour-long interview, there are some questions that can be asked during the hiring process that will shed light on whether or not an employee is a disciplined team member. Consider asking the following. In all of these responses, look for an honest and confident answer that is also given with humility.

  • Describe your work ethic.
  • If we asked your previous manager to describe you, what would they say?
  • How long do you think is too long to accomplish __[task]_?
  • Tell us about a situation when you had a time commitment conflict and how you handled that.
  • How do you organize your tasks and stay on track?

Another way to determine whether or not an employee is a disciplined individual is to dig deeper into who they are outside of their work environment. A good way to measure this is by checking future employees’ social media accounts for clues into their character. Do they seem disciplined in their everyday, social life? Or do their pictures and status updates make them seem like their life is less put together than they communicated in their interview. Knowing whether or not a prospective employee is disciplined should be one of the key determining factors in whether or not they are brought on in your company.

2. Continual Improvement

Another important quality to look for in prospective employees is continual improvement, or the inherent desire that a candidate possesses to be a better version of themselves. This desire is a fuel that clearly drives them and is an obvious attitude that should be apparent in their interview. This is important for businesses to know, as employees who strive to continuously improve will have that same attitude when it comes to bettering their company as a whole. Ask some of the following questions and look for genuine answers that reveal a person who acknowledges their flaws, yet is committed to overcoming them.

  • What are some of your weaknesses that you recognize you need improvement?
  • How have you tried to improve those areas of weakness so far?
  • Describe a time when your former manager reprimanded you or wanted you to adjust some aspect of your job. How did you respond?
  • What are three personal goals you want to accomplish for this year?

3. Developing Others

It’s important that your employees commit to bettering themselves, but the fact is: Your business won’t succeed if everyone isn’t working together. When hiring new employees, look for candidates who not only want to improve themselves, but they also want to help better those around them. These types of candidates see the “big picture” and understand that one weak link can break an entire chain. They know that they have a role in bettering their coworkers in order to better their business altogether.  

During an interview, look for red flags in order to weed out candidates who do not seem like team players who would help strengthen their team. Ask questions like:

  • If you notice a coworker struggling to grasp a key concept, do you step in and help them figure it out? Or do you focus on your own tasks?
  • Describe a time when you were given a group project.
  • Do you like working with teams, or do you prefer to solely focus on your individual work?
  • What do you think of an open-concept office layout where the structure is designed for frequent collaboration?

Hiring employees who are focused on developing others and sharing their knowledge and expertise will allow for a prosperous, smooth-running business.

4. Positive Attitude

An office filled with positivity is vital to success. When hiring new employees, remember that an employee’s overall attitude impacts everything they do. Frequently, at Zimmer, we use the expression, “Hire for attitude; Train for skill.” We love this saying because it reminds us that during the interview process, we shouldn’t count out a candidate with a great attitude just because they don’t have all of the necessary requirements for the job.

For example, if we’re interviewing for a radio sales position and the candidate has never sold radio advertising specifically, yet they have a great attitude and are genuinely excited about the prospect of selling radio ads, then we will likely bring the candidate onboard and train them with everything they need to know to succeed in the position. If their attitude is genuine, then he or she will want to soak up all of the training they can and become the best radio advertising salesperson they can be.

A candidate’s overall attitude should come across in an interview setting, but consider asking the following questions to dig deeper.

  • Why are you excited about this job? What made you apply?
  • How would you react if you got this position and started tomorrow?
  • Are you intimidated by all that you would have to learn to succeed at this position?

Check Out Our Current Job Openings at Zimmer! 

5. Enthusiasm and Passion

When hiring new employees, remember that an ideal candidate is someone who is genuinely excited about working for your company. It is important when you are hiring that you look for employees who are not just worried about the money and staying employed. But instead you want someone who is passionate about your products or services. You want to find a candidate who agrees with your business’ underlying purpose. The simple fact is that if they are passionate about your business and industry as a whole, then they will produce better work.  

Ask the following questions to determine whether or not a prospective employee will be passionate about your business.

  • Describe the general feelings you have about this position/business/industry.
  • Do you know our company’s mission statement? How did it impact you when you read it?
  • Do you think there is a deeper meaning to what we do here apart from simply making money?
  • What motivates you the most: Money or helping people? Why?

Finding the right employees may seem like a daunting task to take on, but going into the interview process armed with loaded questions that are strategically designed to reveal who a candidate truly is will eliminate the headache that comes along with hiring the wrong employees. Building a team that encompasses the five qualities listed above will lead your business to even greater achievements down the road.


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