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From the time my brother and I launched our first company in the 1980s, through the many business ventures with which I’ve been involved during the decades since, I’ve always believed that a company’s people are its most important asset. It’s true. If you hire in a smart way, provide your employees with meaningful work that satisfies them and let them know how much you appreciate them, they’ll help you realize your vision and, hopefully, achieve business success.

It’s no secret that there are many people looking for opportunities. Lots of them probably contact you to inquire about working for you. The challenge, though, is identifying who will be most likely to meet your needs. Here are some tips to help you determine how to hire wisely.

Define what you’re looking for.
Look around at your current staff to understand who excels and who doesn’t. This can help you to determine who will likely work most effectively and efficiently within your company. What is it about your top team members that makes them so good? It might be a mixture of many different qualities, like creativity, tenacity, work ethic, leadership qualities, people skills, and others. Create a profile of sorts that contains the essential qualities a new staff member should have and use it when you’re searching for a new employee or when evaluating someone new.

Describe in full detail what a new team member will be doing.
Just as you need to know as much as possible about a potential employee’s past professional history, you’ll also want to let him or her know exactly what’s expected in their possible role at your company. This is extremely important, since you need to know that all employees can and are willing to fulfill the tasks outlined in their job descriptions. Sometimes, a phrase like “willing to work nights, holidays and weekends” can be helpful to you, since it could serve to weed out parties who don’t want to do that.

Ask lots of questions.
When you’re meeting with a possible hire, whether someone who responded to an online posting or someone who was referred with a recommendation, learn as much as you can about their current and previous work roles. It’s especially important to ask about the types of quantifiable results they achieved and how they did that. This type of information, which tells you how they approach, complete and measure the outcomes of projects, will give you insight into what kind of employee they’re likely to be in your company.

Check for a cultural fit.
Every company has a work culture. It could be nose-to-the-grindstone, open and easygoing or somewhere in between. You’ll want to evaluate all new hires with regard to how they’ll fit into your culture. For example, a person might have a stellar skill set but not a personality that will mesh well with others. In some companies, fellow employees are asked to participate in interviews as a way to help evaluate new people. You might consider doing this, just to see how others perceive the person.

Get a handle on their level of commitment.
Is the potential new person someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to help the company operate successfully? In short, is he or she someone on whom you can count? All potential new employees will tell you that they are, but this is where a combination of the results on their resume, your intuition and even nonverbal signals when you meet can help you figure out if the person you want to onboard really will give 100 percent to the company. 

It’s costly to bring on a new person, so you want to be as confident and thorough as possible when evaluating a candidate.