Four job applicants sitting.

Finding and keeping the right employees can be one of the most challenging aspects of building a successful business. Hiring good people can be hard, and keeping them can be harder. But fortunately, a business coach has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you build the all-star team of your dreams.

Whether you’ve been a one-man show and you can’t expand further without adding employees, or you’ve had difficulty finding top talent, in both scenarios you must to know which qualities make up a good employee. This is a skill all business owners need to develop because the success of their businesses hinges on the strength of their teams.

The problem founders have is they don’t want to risk their venture by hiring the wrong staff. So, how can you find the right employees, and what traits should you look for? Here, are the four most important qualities that make up some of the best employees.

1. Cooperative, Not Argumentative

One of the worst words a boss can hear is “no.” When you hire people, one of the first things you should watch out for is an argumentative personality. When you ask a new hire to do something, do they come back with “no” or “I can’t or won’t do that” when you make a perfectly reasonable request?

If an employee frequently argues with you, or constantly gives you reasons why something can’t or won’t be done, this is a red flag. As a business owner, it’s best to surround yourself with people who possess a positive, can-do attitude. This doesn’t mean that employees must know how to do everything. If they don’t know how to do something instead of saying “yes,” and doing it wrong or not do it behind your back, they should say, “I don’t know how to do that, but I’d be happy to learn if you can show me how.”

2. Look Beyond the Résumé

Business owners have mixed opinions about résumés. Some founders insist on seeing them. Some of them could care less about them, while others will gloss over them but they’re more concerned about the applicant’s personality and willingness to learn.

Companies should not hire based off of résumés alone as this doesn’t usually work out well. As you interview, it’s important that you like the person sitting in front of you. Ask yourself, “Will this individual fit in our company culture? Can we imagine working alongside him or her all day?” You have to listen to your gut.

Hiring someone only because they look good on paper can be a huge mistake, so make sure to hire people whose personalities will be a welcome addition to the team, especially while everyone is in close quarters. “Hiring people is an art, not a science, and résuméscan’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” – Howard Schulz, the former CEO of Starbucks.

3. Hire for Complementary Skillsets

When you have less than 50 employees, it’s smart to hire people with complementary skillsets. The idea is to hire people with different strengths, especially when you’re first starting out.

While the types of jobs you fill depend on your industry, here’s an example: At first you may hire a receptionist, a sales person, someone to handle marketing, and someone to handle the accounting and payroll; you hire people with different skill sets. This complementary approach is critical for all startups. The idea is that your employees’ strengths complement each other’s weaknesses.

4. Willingness to Learn

If you have a startup or if your company still has a lot of room to grow, you may not have the option of hiring the most high-skilled and high-payed workers, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Many business owners strongly believe that a positive attitude is more important than an impressive résumé because a lot of skills can be learned. Take Barbara Corcoran for example, one of the “Sharks” on the hit TV show, Shark Tank, who said, “Always choose attitude over experience. Always.”

While building a great team for your company is essential to its success, don’t hire someone until you’re sure that he or she is the right person. You don’t want to rush it, even if you’re in a hurry to fill a position. Hiring is similar to dating in many ways. A lot of it comes down to asking the right questions, learning about the applicant, and determining if his or her values and work ethic align with the culture you’re trying to build.

At AdviCoach, we know that for many business owners, hiring can be extremely challenging, but our coaches can help make the process a lot easier. We can help you identify the qualities that are important to you in employees so you can hire the right people, and we can coach you on the successful actions that help companies retain their finest staff. Contact us today to learn more.