When it comes to running a business, there are all sorts of important factors to think about, such as having the right products or services, marketing and selling well, understanding your target market, keeping track of finances, etc. However, no matter which industry your venture is in or what you sell, you also need to select the best team members who can help you to move the organization forward.

It can be tricky choosing from a broad range of candidates though, which is why many small business owners outsource their HR needs to ASO services. Whether you’re getting help to find your next employee or are doing it by yourself, read on for some key traits to look for when you next have to choose a staff member.

Positive Outlook

One of the most helpful characteristics in employees (yet one that many business owners don’t concentrate on enough) is a positive outlook. Hiring people who have enthusiasm for their role and the company, and who know how to stay in a positive frame of mind even when things get stressful or challenging, will make a big difference to your company’s results.

People who are full of optimism not only keep themselves uplifted, but also everyone else around them (and this in turn leads to higher productivity and innovation levels). Happier people tend to work better in teams, and take care in their interactions with everyone they deal with, from co-workers through to customers.

During interviews, try to get a sense of how people see the world. Do they notice the positives or get mired down in the negatives? Ask them about challenges they’ve had to handle in their past roles, as this will give you an idea of how they handle difficult times and whether or not they get in and make something happen or give up at the first sign of trouble.

Can-Do Attitude

It’s also a good idea to evaluate what people’s attitudes are like when you conduct interviews. You want to find employees who display initiative and have a can-do attitude that will help them continually look for solutions to problems.

Workers with this kind of trait are helpful in numerous ways. They will always find jobs to do, which means you don’t have to micromanage them, and they’ll often be the ones to notice issues to rectify or opportunities to chase. They come up with new ideas and are usually always very self-motivated so do more than the bare minimum of work.

During interviews with candidates, learn about their attitude by asking them for examples of times when they’ve worked independently. Get a sense of whether they had to receive guidance from their managers or co-workers continually in the past or not. As well, ask them about any new systems or projects they instigated and ran, as this demonstrates initiative.


Another important characteristic is adaptability. No matter which industry your company is in, the fact is that times will change, things won’t go according to plan, and your staff members need to be flexible as a result to handle these upsets.

Hire people who aren’t too set in their ways because if they are, they’re not going to be likely to listen to the opinions of others or be willing to learn new technologies, processes, techniques, skills and knowledge. You also want flexible workers because they’ll be okay when it comes to taking on different tasks, working longer hours when needed to complete projects and even getting their job done in different environments at times if required.

When comparing potential hires, find those who can talk about instances when they have learned new things, taken on new challenges, helped to finish large projects or get work done to deadline and otherwise demonstrated adaptability.

Independent Thinking

For businesses to move forward, they must innovate and not fear doing things differently to the norm. For this to happen, they also need creative, independent thinkers on the inside who don’t simply follow the crowd. As such, choose innovative workers who can think for themselves and who’ll speak up if they see things that could be changed for the better.

Hire employees who will be most likely to come up with new ways of solving problems, cutting costs, streamlining processes, generating product or service ideas, marketing and selling the company’s wares, dealing with customers, predicting trends, etc.

To find these people, ask questions during interviews that relate to how they come up with ideas, problem-solve, work with others to merge disparate ideas and opinions and look for new opportunities. 

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.