Whenever someone new comes on board, it’s always a learning experience for both parties. The new employee is trying to find their footing, and the team, well, they need to see if this person is going to be a right fit for the collective. These first few weeks, or even months can be extremely pivotal, especially if the new person walks in being given a significant amount of responsibility.
Here is how you can tell—before it’s too late—whether or not they will be a good long-term fit.
1. They Listen More than They Talk
This is the most obvious giveaway as to what sort of person you’ve just brought on board. Sometimes it’s apparent in the first interview, sometimes it doesn’t reveal itself until they’ve been hired. But people who talk more than they listen tend to be much, much harder to teach. They think they have all the answers, and that’s the problem. They don’t. Every team operates differently. Especially in the beginning, it’s far more important to listen and observe.
If they are a good listener, you’re off to a great start.
2. They Offer to Help with Whatever Needs to Get Done
The people that say, “That’s not my job,” are not the people you want to work with—especially if you’re a startup or small company. Yes, there is a need for people to “stay in their lane” and know what they are responsible for, but when push comes to shove and all hands need to be on deck, you don’t want team members that would prefer not to get their hands dirty.
3. They Ask Plenty of Questions
It’s the ones that walk through the door wanting to prove how much they already know you should worry about. Success within a team isn’t about one person proving themselves to be “the best.” It’s about everyone being on the same page and learning how to move together—and in order to do that, someone new needs to ask a lot of questions in order to be properly acclimated.
4. They Celebrate the Success of Others
Once you start working together, you’ll see very quickly whether this is the type of person who wants all the credit for themselves, or is willing to celebrate the success of others. If it’s the former, get rid of them—because that need for the spotlight will only continue, and eventually become a source of conflict within the team. However, if they are more interested in helping others succeed, you know you’ve found a keeper.
5. They Take Ownership of Their Mistakes
Especially in the beginning, this new person is going to make mistakes. That’s part of the process, and everyone knows those mistakes need to happen. However, if they struggle to take their missteps in stride and turn them into learning opportunities, you’ve got a much bigger problem on your hands. It’s all about being able to adjust and continue moving forward. You don’t want someone who can’t reflect and improve on their own.
6. They Try to Take on Too Much Responsibility, Too Fast
Ambition is one thing. Lack of foresight is another. You should be thrilled to have found someone who loves taking work off your plate and is willing to help however they can. But be wary, because if they are the type to over-promise and under-deliver, then you’re going to end up spending more time cleaning up their messes than you would have spent just doing the work yourself. Encourage their ambition, but also know when their plate is full.
7. They Live in the Future—Not in the Present
There are people out there who are never satisfied. Ever. Often times, this sort of behavior is encouraged, even applauded in the world of business. But the dark side of this habit is the inability to enjoy what is being accomplished and done well, right now. The reason this is so crucial for teams is because if someone is unable to see the great work that is being done today, only focusing on tomorrow, the people doing the work today will feel unappreciated. They might even begin to resent this person for never validating the effort being put forth right now.
You want people on your team that are forward-thinking, always looking for ways to improve. But what you don’t want are people who refuse to enjoy the process of getting there. Remember: You spend more time with the people you work with than your own family. If you aren’t enjoying the journey together, what are you doing?