What Employee Traits are Employers Looking for Today?


pre employment screening, background check employeeHiring employees
has been off the to-do list for business owners struggling to recover from a down economy and for those who are again starting to do well after a couple of tough years. So, what has changed? Have employers’ needs changed due to a different economic reality? Have potential employees changed, too?

Ask a dozen employers what they’re looking for in employees today, and you’ll probably hear a variety of answers—as well as some commonalities. Here are a few answers we’ve received to that question:

Attitude: “I’m seeing a new commitment to work from potential employees,” says Andrea, a floral shop owner. “A respect for me as an employer and a real desire to work is replacing the ‘you owe me a job’ attitude that some employees exhibited over the past several years.” Andrea says hiring for attitude is her #1 goal. “Positive people contribute to a great company culture and make customers feel great about dealing with my company.”

Appreciation: “I want people who appreciate my company and my customers,” says Kevin, a heating and air conditioning company owner. “They represent me with every interaction and I can’t afford to hire employees who are not customer-centric.” Kevin makes sure he asks every potential employee to give examples of how they have gone above and beyond for customers in their previous jobs. “If they can’t answer that question, I won’t hire them.”

Excellent references: With so many more people looking for work, it pays to know whom you’re hiring. Checking with previous employers, running pre-employment screening checks and calling references are more important then ever before.

Easier recruiting: Your best new employee could be a link or two away. “I ask my contacts on LinkedIn for referrals when I’m hiring,” said Jeanne. “And, I ask my employees if they know of a good person for a particular position.” Employees usually try to make good recommendations, since it reflects directly on them.

Community involvement: “I always look closely at applicants who say they volunteer or are otherwise active in the community,” said Mark. “Their contacts usually become my customers.” And it goes both ways. Mark says he works toward supporting the groups hisvolunteer with. “It makes for a better community, which is important when times are tough.”

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