2020 Small Business Hiring: 3 Traits to Seek Out in Job Candidates

As the 2010s come to a close, small business owners are still hard at work hiring talented employees. They’re also just as invested in retaining said talent. As the resumes flood in, it can be tricky to figure out whom to hire when everyone claims they’re the “best” fit for the role!

Sometimes it helps to look beyond work experience and take a closer look at the applicant’s personality. Which traits should employers be on the lookout for when reviewing resumes and conducting interviews with candidates? From EQ to reliability, talented applicants possess certain characteristics that allow their own selves, as well as the business, to succeed.

1. Emotional Intelligence

Traditional intelligence tells us that when an individual possesses a high IQ, they are smart. Having a high IQ means they will naturally succeed in the workplace. Or does it?

Emotional intelligence is the other kind of smart. It does not come in the form of a high GPA or test score. Rather, emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the idea that the top performers in any organization possess a combination of four, core skill sets. These include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Why should you seek out candidates that possess EQ over a high IQ to fill positions? Individuals with emotional intelligence possess social and personal competence. Let’s break down what each term means in the workplace.

  • Social competence. An individual with EQ can easily pick up on the emotions of others around them, from coworkers to business partners. The awareness found in these emotions allows them to create better relationships with others. In turn, this allows for better collaboration and teamwork—and fewer disagreements, since EQ allows for increased empathy.
  • Personal competence. If you are aware of the emotions of others via social competence, personal competence allows you to tap into your own emotions. You’re able to own up to a mistake, take initiative and manage others, and be held accountable because you possess strong character.

2. Reliability

If you hired this potential applicant, do you trust that you can count on them? Reliability covers a number of relevant areas in the workplace. While it may sound a bit basic, being reliable is a clear indicator of a candidate’s work ethic and their commitment to the role. Here are a few examples of what reliable candidates have in common.

  • Ability to provide examples of how they get their daily workload completed, as well as last-minute or sudden assignments.
  • A proven track record for showing up to work on time every day.
  • The ability to respond to others, ranging from coworkers to clients, in a prompt fashion and address their needs.

3. Enthusiasm

There are two types of enthusiasm to watch out for in resumes. The first is proven enthusiasm and the second is present enthusiasm. Let’s briefly unpack the definition of each term.

An applicant with proven enthusiasm easily shows it in their resume. In addition to sharing what they did in their last position or currently do, they can also showcase examples of moments where they went above and beyond. What did they accomplish in this position? What kinds of initiatives did they spearhead in their role? What kinds of opportunities did they help create for the business? And, most importantly, why did they do it? What was their M.O. for doing more than what was asked of them? Why did they push to help their department succeed? The responses give employers greater insight into the candidate’s motivation and pride they have in their work. Their proven work ethic will likely translate into any job they’re hire for next, including your business!

The second type of enthusiasm is present enthusiasm. It is the answer to the question “Why do you want to work for us?”

Despite what you may hear, there are correct and incorrect responses to this question. If an applicant says they want money or can’t answer the question, they won’t be a good fit.

The correct way to respond is by showing your enthusiasm for the role.

Maybe the company has a mission statement that you relate strongly to and believe in. Perhaps you love their products and want to work there to champion the company to others. You may also be hungry for the chance to show them what you’ve got, and passionate for the opportunity to do great work.

Basically, it all comes down to simple math. Proven enthusiasm plus present enthusiasm equals a valuable hire. This is an employee who is highly likely lead your small business to great success in 2020 and beyond.

Deborah Sweeney

About Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.