Hiring can be daunting. Breathe deep and take a moment to begin with some basics when you are going to look for a new employee. Start simple. Before you even put a job description together, take some time to focus on the behavioral traits that will be needed to set you and your new employee up for success!

So, how do you determine the most “desirable” traits to suit your needs? Sure, there are things all smart employers should look for – everyone wants a hard worker and a multi-tasker, right? But you need to really personalize your list and build a plan from there. Start by identifying your own list of “desirables”. Is it realistic to think you will get 100% of what you want? Probably not, so here are a few tips to get things moving.

Make a list. Making a list of the traits, or “soft skills”, you want your team to possess is crucial to your company. We recommend creating a list of positive attributes for ALL employees – things that ensure you to continue to build your brand and shape your company and culture – or better yet, some additional ones that would raise the bar. But – you should also take into consideration the role itself. What specific soft skills will be necessary to make this person successful? Looking for an enterprise sales rep? You will need someone that can build long term relationships successfully. A new IT guy? Then a theoretical problem solver is probably desired.

Prioritize. Of course, it’s highly unlikely every employee will possess ALL of the traits you put on your ideal candidate list. So, prioritizing that list is an important step. Choose 5 “must haves”, then pick some “nice to haves”. This will help to set some more solid benchmarks.

Be open to training potential hires. A reason behavioral traits are so key is that they are really not trainable. Skills, and subject matter expertise and can be learned. If the candidate has some relatable skills coupled with the right traits and an aptitude for learning, we recommend being open to training them. This is a great way to organically grow your team.

Assessment Tools. There are a wide variety of assessment tools that can be employed within a hiring process to get a pulse on behavioral traits. Many great ways to use assessments exist, including the ability to set benchmarks, create desired profiles, and apply in effective management. Rather than go on gut, put some science into the mix. Assessments may help you uncover characteristics or motivators you may not otherwise discover. We don’t recommend making a decision wholly based on an assessment, but figure out in advance how heavily to weight this aspect.