What to Look for in Potential New Team Members Before Hiring Them

Your business is only as strong as your weakest team member. Think about that statement for a minute. You could have the best product or service, but one bad employee can change the way to public thinks about your company.

All it takes these days is one bad customer experience, and they quickly run to social media to voice their displeasure. If the topic is highly controversial and their complaint or issue goes viral it can be the final nail in the coffin, killing the business. It doesn’t matter if it’s the CEO or a minimum wage customer service rep. A bad employee can be dangerous.

If you are looking to hire new team members there are some things you need to be on the lookout for and some things you need to take into consideration. Hopefully these tips help you make your next hire a great one.

Ask for non-related references.

If you aren’t specific when asking for references you will often find that an applicant will list family members. Why? Well, they are more likely to have nothing but positive things to say, and that is to be expected.

“A family member is going to be very biased and talk the person up, often times over hyping their character or abilities,” suggests Loren Taylor of Soothing Company. “Always ask for non-related references, and you can even be more specific and ask for past supervisors and managers.” This will give you people to speak with who will give you the truth without any sugarcoating.

Have them complete a very detail-oriented task.

During the initial interview process it’s always a good idea to give them very detailed instructions. You can even require this at the very beginning. Things like requiring them to send a resume to a very specific email address or including a specific email subject line can quickly weed out applicants that are not detail oriented and who can’t follow simple instructions.

“While it may sound silly, if someone can’t follow a simple details when applying for a job do you think they are going to pay attention and follow instructions once they have it?,” states Jeannie Hill of Hill Web Creations. “For example, I might as a potential hire to perform an extensive audit for search marketing improvements with very details specific instructions to see if they pay attention to every detail. This is a quick way to ensure someone is detail-oriented.”

This simple tip can help you avoid people that simply don’t care. You don’t want people like this on your team representing your business. They are a major liability.

Check all of their social media profiles.

Social media is a platform that allows people to be themselves and to express themselves. Check the social profiles of anyone applying to your business. This gives you the chance to look at their character. If they are posting rude and disrespectful things then that is someone you do not want to represent your business.

“A quick scroll down someone’s Facebook feed can give you a very good picture of what type of person they are,” suggests Ignacio Soria of cannandco.net. Foul language, posts in poor judgement or even hate speech are all signs of trouble.

Get creative with Google searches.

Just like a social media search can tell you a lot about someone, so can a Google search. You can start with their name and hometown, but then you can get even more creative and search their name with their past employers and even the schools that they attended.

“These days everything is online and once it’s there is never leaves,” says April Gillmore of clickfirstmarketing.com. “Things like domestic violence, legal trouble and anything else that is a red flag will surface when you dive deep in Google searches.”

You will have to get creative and spend some time digging around, but it’s worth the little trouble if it prevents you from hiring someone that could ruin your company. Spend the extra time to make sure there are no skeletons in the closet, or interesting info that comes up. There are also several professional services that will provide you with comprehensive background checks, if you have the budget for that.

Send previous employer an anonymous message.

If you know where they previously worked you can email the company and simply ask if the person still works there. If they reply and say ‘they are no longer with us’ that is nothing to worry about but if their reply is something along the lines of ‘we fired that scumbag’ then you need to run far away and avoid trouble.

“We have called other companies that offer services for Brisbane that candidates and applicants previously worked at,” says the founder of P101 Pest Control. “Often times being direct is the best approach. I’ve found that most business owners will give honest feedback, as they would hope to receive as well if they were making the inquiry.”

You don’t want to email from a business email address, so create a free Yahoo or Gmail email to use for this task. You aren’t trying to dig too deep — just see if there are any immediate red flags that surface from a simple message.

Determine whether or not they are coachable.

The best employees are the ones that are coachable. Not every new hire is going to be experienced, but if they are willing to learn you can mold them into superstar team members. You can quickly tell if they will be willing to learn just by having a few conversations.

“If you get the impression that a potential new hire thinks they are always right or that they are the ‘my way or the highway’ type then don’t bother,” advises Irene McConnell of Arielle Executive, a company that is highly involved in this space, as a provider of outplacement services for executives. “Instead, find someone that wants to be coached and developed into an all-star.” It’s much easier to coach someone the right way then to simply hope they are going to do it the right way. Someone willing to learn is the best option always.

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