The Traits Of A Good Employee: Who Should I Hire?

Sep 13, 2017

When you’re just starting your business, you want to fill your staff with people you can count on. You want the best employees who are dependable, great at what they do, and eager to learn.

So just how do you find these candidates? It starts with knowing which traits to look for, and which aren’t a great fit for your company.

In this article, we will walk you through the traits of a good employee, making the hiring process as efficient and rewarding as possible.

Ready to learn? Let’s go!

1. Someone Who Is Passionate

If you’re a business owner who is passionate about your product or service, one of the traits of a good employee is someone who shares that passion.

When you hire people who really care about the mission of the company, that will shine through in their work ethic.

For instance, if you run a newspaper, hire people who are passionate about journalism. If you run a sporting goods store, hire people who are passionate about athletics and all the gear that goes with it.

Ask your interviewees about their interests and take note if they list your product or service. Employees who care about their work will show up more consistently, perform better, and transfer their enthusiasm onto the public. 

2. Someone Who Is Reliable

When considering the traits of a good employee, reliability should be one of your top concerns.

In order to discern someone’s reliability, be sure to check their references. Get in contact with their old bosses and ask if the person had issues with tardiness or reliability.

You want employees who will show up every day and be loyal to the company. That being said, someone who left their last job after three weeks with no real explanation may not be your best choice.

Hire someone who has a track record of doing what they’re supposed to do. Chances are, they’ll show that same dedication in their next position.

3. Someone With A Positive Attitude

This may sound arbitrary, but when you’re working in close quarters with your employees, their attitude matters.

Hire the person who seems genuinely happy to be in the interview and who is excited about the opportunity to apply for the position.

Ask your interviewee questions about their past work experiences and pay close attention to how they answer them. Do they scowl and talk bad about past managers & coworkers, or do they recount mostly pleasant experiences?

One of the best traits of a good employee is someone who gets along well with others and who will boost company morale. Positive people tend to do this easily.

Positive employees are less likely to grumble and complain when you need them to stay an extra hour. Instead, they’ll be excited about the chance to earn some extra cash. In other words, they’ll seek the positive in almost any situation, helping the work day go by quicker.

4. Someone With the Right Background

Putting personalities aside, it’s important that you hire someone with the right background.

Hire someone who either has experience in your field, or the proper education to do the job.

Entry-level employees can learn the skills needed to do good work, but you have to invest extra in their training.

If you’re on a low budget, it’s recommended to hire someone who already has the work experience in your company’s field. This way, they can start doing the job right away with minimal training.

Even though you can typically pay entry-level employees less, it’s usually best to go with the applicant who has some experience.

5. Someone Who is a Leader

Knowing how to lead is one of the essential traits of a good employee.

You want to hire people who will step up and lead others when needed. Some people are natural leaders and they will want to mentor other people on your staff.

These people don’t necessarily need to be hired as supervisors or managers but they will act as guides for your other employees.

Natural leaders are gems in the workplace because they will want to help the rest of the staff learn and improve. Strong leaders will lead by example and soon the whole office will be working efficiently.

6. Someone Who is Cross-Trained

Recently, the concept of cross training has taken on a double meaning. Here, we aren’t talking about someone who spends their weekends and evenings at a Crossfit gym. Instead, we mean someone who has a variety of skills.

For example, you might hire the candidate who has incredible verbal communication skills but is also good at IT.

When someone is trained in multiple sectors, they can make your company work more efficiently. Someone who is trained in more than one area will be able to pick up the slack around the office whenever and wherever you may need them to be. 

7. Someone Who’s Available

If you’re just starting out your business, you want employees who are able to give 110%.

You want employees who will help you build your company from the ground up, and who are around the office enough to know what’s going on.

That being said, you need someone who has flexible scheduling. Someone who works another job and can only devote part of their time to your company is probably not the best choice. Their loyalties will be divided between two companies and in the end, yours might be over shadowed by their original job.

Ask your interviewee about their availability in the interview and take note if they’re hesitant to offer full-time availability.

You want to hire people who are 100% on board with you and the company from the get-go. 

8. Someone Who Asks Questions

Hire the person who asks genuine and meaningful questions in an interview.

A person who asks questions is not only showing their interest in your company, but they’re also trying to ensure that they understand what will be required of them.

You want to hire people who want to know all about the position before they take it, as this shows responsibility.

The types of questions they ask also give you insight into their priorities.

If they’re only asking about your employee game room or a benefits package, then they might not be the right candidate. Instead, pick the interviewee who asks more about what their responsibilities will be and what they’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis at your company.

9. Someone Who Comes Prepared

You want to hire someone who shows up to the interview ready to interview.

This means they’re dressed professionally, they have something to write with and on, and they brought a copy of their resume.

When someone shows up prepared for the interview, it shows that they’ll show up prepared for the job. 

While you shouldn’t judge a candidate solely on their appearance, it is important that they made the effort to appear clean and professional.

A formal interview is the time for candidates to present their best selves. If they let their personal hygiene go in the interview, it would only be downhill when they’re a full-time employee. Personal hygiene is one of those traits of a good employee that you can’t afford to overlook.

10. Someone Who Is Open

A potential employee does not need to have an extroverted personality. They do, however, need to be outgoing enough that they’re willing to share their ideas.

Companies grow because employees speak up about new directions and contribute to conversations. If your interviewee is so quiet that they can hardly answer your questions, they might not be a good fit on your team.

Interviews are difficult for everyone, but an interviewee who wants a job should try to open up during an interview.

Being open is one of the more valuable traits of a good employee. Openness encourages communication and advancement. When someone is closed off, it could cause unrest in the company as they could bottle up issues or problems they’re having at work.

You want your office to be full of people who are comfortable expressing problems, ideas, and improvements that could be made to better your company. 


If you follow these tips you’ll be well on your way to a staff of employees who are willing and eager to help your company thrive.

Pay close attention to the people you’re interviewing and see what their responses tell you about what type of employee they will be.

Remember you want to hire open, reliable people who ask a lot of meaningful questions. You want to stay away from people who show up unprepared and who have a negative attitude.

Good luck and happy hiring!



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