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Good Sign Bad Sign Part 2: What to look for in newly hired workers

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I wrote a very practical and interesting blog about what signs to look for in newly hired workers. the link to that older article is at the bottom of this page. The list was fairly complete and easy to understand. But, there are other signs to look for too. The good signs can be summarized as being friendly and willing while bad signs include complaining and refusing! You can read the previous blog to see the entire line-up. But, there are more signs to look for.

Good Signs

Fast Learners! – A Very Good Sign!
New hires that learn quickly might be good in the long run. They cost you less labor to train, and will be likely to learn new things as time goes on. The ultimate goal of hiring someone new is that they might one day be able to do more tasks for you, and eventually be a manager. Someone who can never get simple things right will be a management drain, and also will never be able to be self-managing, or manage others! Seeing who is a fast learner is not rocket science. Just give them regular coaching, as you should give any employee, and see how fast they pick up!

Saying They Like Their Work
Some people are just plain polite. Polite people are much better to have around than rude people. They life your mood, and the moods of your cranky customers. But, saying how much you like your work is a very good sign. Most people don’t really like their work, or don’t like it that much. They might be loyal to you for the money, but do they really like their job? The fact that someone takes the effort to say that they like their work means something. Sure, they might be faking it, but if you don’t see any “hidden” signs that they “really” don’t like their work, then it is probably genuine!

Returns Calls
This is so basic. Of course someone who returns calls is a “good sign” worker. But, who puts this on a list of good signs? Me! Not everyone can return calls or emails right away, but if they do it within a 24-48 period on a consistent basis, that is good. It means they didn’t forget about you.

Having a Good Attitude
I sort of summarized various sub-components of having a good attitude in part 1 of this blog. I mentioned being friendly and happy to talk, plus willingness to work. These are all effects of having a good attitude. I would look at attitude before looking at skills. Someone with good skills and an antagonistic attitude can be your worst nightmare.

Bad Signs

Being Critical of the Boss
Workers who criticize their boss might have a point. Their boss might really be at fault sometimes. Some workers just criticize just to be jerks. In most workplaces, criticizing the boss is not tolerated, especially in India. But, in America, bosses have to be tolerant of difficult personality types,simply because America is a breeding ground for difficult people. I had one person who was so antagonistic, that when I criticized negligent people who worked for me, he turned it around and said that I also was negligent about many things. When you have a labor shortage, it is hard to have high standards for your workers. You take what you can get. But, if your workers constantly are harping on you, it is time to try some new people.

Suggesting that you fire them
If you criticize a worker, and they suggest that maybe you should fire them, or that maybe you are not a good fit, watch out. When someone talks like that, they might not be correct about the good fit part. They might be a very good fit, with a very bad attitude. Unfortunately, in the world of work, attitude matters more than skills in the long run because the person with the bad attitude will either quit or get fired which nullifies the value of their skills. The person with the good attitude might not know as much, but you will be able to “work with what you have” in them in the long run, plus they might be able to learn. I have had two people suggest that I fire them. I didn’t fire them right away. But, in both cases, the relationship deteriorated into a very antagonistic mess. If someone suggests that you fire them, end it as fast as you can, and you’ll be glad you did. Or, at least put them in a position where they are no longer critical to your daily functioning!

Neutral Signs

Lack of confidence or too much confidence
I am not so concerned about confidence unless you are in sales. Those who lack confidence might be the smartest people around. If they learn to be excellent at what they are doing, then the confidence will come. Confidence comes and goes based on your accumulation of success and failures in your life.

When hiring new workers, a good attitude, reliability and compatibility come before hiring the person with the best skills. Even if hiring for a technical position where they don’t need to be a people-person, you need someone who gets along with you and the others.

(1) Are your new workers fast learners who are happy to be there? That is a very good sign!
(2) If your worker suggests that you fire them, take that seriously. That is the worst sign ever!

You might also like:

Part 1 of Good Sign Bad Sign: What to look for in newly hired workers!

What does Warren Buffet look for when he hires people?