Hiring might be the most important part of any business, especially a fast-growing one. No matter how strong the company mission, founders, and product, your success will be limited without an effective employee base. Consequently, making the right hiring decisions is critical to any company's success.

The recruitment process is challenging, though. There is a reason that the 'hiring' solution on LinkedIn is costly. Navigating through all of the noise and convincing the best employees to join your team are no easy feats.

Some companies rely on hiring factors such as age or gender, based on a perception that stereotypes simplify choices. That approach is a grave mistake, and it will cause you to both miss out on high-quality employees and decrease office diversity.

Instead, when hiring for your business, look for the characteristics that all strong employees share. Seek out these seven must-have traits; anyone who possesses them is very likely to excel as an employee.

1. Ability to adapt

The world is changing at what seems like break-neck speed. More and more businesses are integrating advanced design, marketing and prototyping tools and strategies to squeeze out a greater competitive edge.

In this climate, the best employees are the ones that can swiftly adapt to a new environment or reality.

For new hires, one thing that's more important than existing knowledge is the skill set to learn new things. It doesn't matter how good someone was at writing email copy 10 years ago. The way that consumers read emails (and the way marketers send them) has changed since then. As a result, those older approaches are now less effective.

Looking for signs that someone will be able to evolve over time will give you a strong employee, not just for the next few months but for the future as well.

2. Culture fit

In a 2015 Deloitte study, 87 percent of companies cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. It makes sense. Building a strong culture where everyone collaborates and thrives is a complex process that takes time.

Creating this culture starts with the hiring process. Culture fit is just as important as factors such as intelligence or qualifications. Regardless of past experience, if the candidate will not get along with the rest of the team, it's not a good fit for either of you.

By the same token, bringing people together who fit into the larger company culture will pay both short and long-term benefits. This is especially true for positions near the foundation of your business, where each employee matters all the more.

3. Openness to new technology

In line with the ability to adapt, employees have to understand the role that technology plays for their work and for your company moving forward. If they are unable or unwilling to understand that impact and master the tech that plays such a huge part in your company's future, they will be limited in what they can accomplish for your business.

For resistant employees, technology will be not a boost but a blocker. On the other hand, hiring employees that embrace and run with new advancements will spur your innovation and growth.

4. Honesty

Honesty may sound old-fashioned, but it's actually a crucial trait for today's employers. One elemental reason for its importance is that honest employees will avoid getting you into sticky situations. When someone is lying about data or other parts of their job, it can severely damage your company and its reputation.

In addition, honesty enhances one's individual relationships, both with colleagues and with customers. Employees who are willing to admit their shortcomings and be open about their opinions with others will automatically be more apt to succeed.

5. Ready to Take Criticism

People who can take criticism in a positive, constructive manner will improve more steadily, be easier to work with, and create less drama.

No one is perfect. Every employee could improve some aspect of their performance. Therefore, those who are truly open to constructive criticism and working towards improving will be the highest-growth team members.

6. Passion

Another Deloitte study found that 87.7 percent of the workforce cannot contribute their full potential because they don't have passion for their work. Internally motivated workers simply do more.

People with that intrinsic drive for what they are doing will be self-starters, instead of being extrinsically motivated by hours or pay. Passionate people spread the wealth around them. They attack their work with a vigor and urgency that keeps them going during challenging times.

7. Action-oriented

A-team employees tend to value actions over words. They are willing to test things out and get moving, instead of talking and dreaming all day. Their motto is "better imperfect action today than perfect action tomorrow." They believe in iterative success. Having these doers on your team will not only increase what that team can accomplish, but will also motivate everyone around them.

Published on: Jul 20, 2018