The success of your team is highly dependent on the people who make it up. That’s why it’s so important, when you have an opening, to ensure that the person you hire for the job is right for the role.
Related: How to Avoid Hiring a Psychopath
Research from Bersin by Deloitte finds that the average company spends $4,000 to fill an open position. And, if that person turns out to be a bad hire, it could end up costing the company even more.
So, how do you ensure you hire the right person? According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 47 percent of small businesses polled said they couldn’t find qualified applicants for open positions. But if you focus on the key qualities your ideal candidate should possess, you’ll know the perfect hire when you see him (or her).
In his book, Start With the Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action, motivational speaker Simon Sinek wrote: “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”
Not sure what characteristics you should be looking for? Here are five of the top qualities — some surprising — that I look for when building my team:
In an interview with Business Insider, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington said, “I love working with people who say exactly what’s on their minds.” If all you want is someone to nod his or her head and agree with everything you say, all you’re going to get is a “yes man,” and that won’t benefit your business.
Related: The Key to Hiring the Best Employees
You need to hire people who aren’t afraid to share their ideas, speak up and challenge the status quo. These are the people who will be able to push your team to improve and make positive changes.
2. Eager to learn
When asked whom they want to hire, most managers will mention intelligence as a key characteristic of their ideal candidate. But intelligence doesn’t always translate to business success.
Instead of looking for book smarts, focus on finding someone who is curious and willing to learn. These candidates will be better able to adapt to change in your organization and be able to grow along with it.
People who are eager to learn are always looking for new challenges and ways to improve. They may even be able to come up with new ideas for how things should be done in your business.
3. Balanced life
It may seem like you’d want someone who is super dedicated to your company, spending extra hours in the office and always the first one in and the last one out. But it’s actually people who maintain a balanced life outside the office who make the best employees.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “We don’t put people through a machine where they come out and talk the same, look the same, think the same. We really value diversity with a capital ‘D’: We want diversity of thought. We want diversity of style. We want people to be themselves.”
Diversity is important, to allow your company to grow, and people gain diverse thoughts by experiencing life outside the office. So, those with hobbies, friends and family don’t tend to be one-dimensional. They bring a lot of worldly knowledge and interesting contributions to help your organization.
4. All-star player
This may be an obvious one, but it’s important. You need to staff your team with people who go above and beyond what is asked of them and aren’t afraid of doing hard work.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shared his hiring secret with Business Insider: “I’ve adopted this hiring rule, which is that you should never hire someone to work for you unless you would work for them in an alternate universe.”
Similarly, in a 1998 Amazon shareholders letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that when hiring, he and his listeners need to ask, “Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering? We want to fight entropy. The bar has to continuously go up.”
The people you should hire, then, are the ones who will raise the standards in your business. They contribute more than just what their position entails, and they’re always looking for new ways to grow themselves and the business.
In a speech at the University of Florida, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said, “We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity.”
No matter how great a candidate is, if he or she isn’t honest and authentic, you might not be able to trust this person or his/her work. People with integrity are better able to work with others and provide work that is high quality and dependable.