Good Sign Bad Sign: What to look for in newly hired workers

Sometimes it is hard to know who to hire, especially when you are in a bind and need someone right away. There are many signs to look for and many phases in the relationship. Sometimes people start off with a bang and end with a low thud or fizzling sound. Always assume that a good relationship can go South. However, I have never seen a bad relationship turn good. On a brighter note, people with good attitudes who are working on their skills might improve their skills over the period of a year or two.

Good Signs
The service provider:
(1) Is always friendly and happy to talk
(2) Conversations last for more than two hours!
(3) You feel that if you were stuck with the person in an eight hour car ride that it would be a pleasant experience
(4) The person gives thoughtful answers to all of your questions and suggests their own points of view too
(5) Finishes work on time or early
(6) Is not only willing, but happy to meet with you on a Sunday or email you on a Holiday about a work related issue
(7) Enjoys taking you out to eat or being taken out to eat
(8) Gives consistently reasonable bids
(9) Is willing to do small things at no cost

Bad Signs
(1) The person is not so willing to answer questions, and answers seem incomplete or evasive
(2) Conversations are short and the person doesn’t seem to enthusiastic about talking. It is more of a burden
(3) Work is finished late, or is sloppy.
(4) Refuses to lift a finger on the weekend no matter what.
(5) Politely declines when you offer to take them out to eat at your expense.
(6) Complains about the work
(7) Answers their phone less than 35% of the time and doesn’t normally return calls or emails.

Categories of signs
(1) Willingness to interact:
Phone answer rate
Answering messages rate
Answering emails rate & speed
Willing to socialize with you off the job

(2) Quality of interaction:
Quality answers to questions
Suggestions — the person makes great suggestions on their own initiative
Complaining — the person complains regularly about small things
Tone: (happy, distant, absent minded, hostile, etc.)

(3) Punctuality — getting things done on time indicates a “Willingness to work”
(4) Quality of Work
(5) Efficiency of work — keeping bids reasonable and being helpful.
(6) Integrity — not cheating or lying.

Based on my experience, if you hire someone to work for you, nobody is ever perfect. So, don’t hold anyone to perfection unless you are Steve Jobs (who could get away with it.) Unfortunately, if a workers is seriously lacking in any of the six categories of signs listed above, you really can’t use them. But, if they are not too bad in any department and get the job done, you are in business.

One of the most critical signs that I read about in other people’s blogs is a gut feeling. How long would you consent to be stuck in a car with the other person. If the answer is twenty minutes, maybe you should not work with them. But, if the answer is all day, then you found a winner!

Pay attention to signs. A single sign doesn’t prove your destiny, but if there are too many question marks or bad signs, your work relationship will most likely not work. It makes sense to end a bad work relationship as soon as possible, or you will be complaining every day about the person!

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