Last week we talked about the qualities that we look for in Five Star Employees. We discussed how our roles as moms set us up perfectly to be excellent employees. In addition to these qualities, it’s important as a business owner that we also look for team members that have the right Aptitudes and Skills.

Many jobs, such as accounting roles, allow us to test for knowledge and proficiency on skills tests. We can test accounting terminology or 10 key speed, etc. But there are other attributes for your business that you can't test. So how can you find these attributes?

Determine Your Attributes

This is where interviews and good questions come into play.  But before you start crafting questions, write up your list of attributes for the role.

Here is our list:

  • Analytical Skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Customer Focus
  • Energy
  • Excellence Standards
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Intelligence
  • Organization/Planning
  • Passion
  • Resourcefulness
  • Rule Follower/Checklist Lover
  • Self-Awareness

There are other attributes like, Risk taking or Persuasiveness that may apply to some roles, but not great for our bookkeepers.

Once you have determined these attributes - you want about a dozen - then determine how important each is on a scale from 1-5. For example, Integrity is very important for us, it's rated a 5. Resourcefulness and Independence are also important because we are a remote team, we'd rate them 4's or 5's. 

Ask the Right Questions

Next, start to develop the questions that will help you test a candidate on their level of "skill" for this attribute. Questions that are open ended, like, “Tell me about a time….” or, “Give me an example of….”

As with all interviews, don't signal the result you want. Ask the question and be quiet. Let the silence work for you. Believe me it's more uncomfortable for them than for you. Be sure you really listen to what they are saying as an answer. Listen so that you can ask for more details and really start to understand how the candidate feels about themselves and this attribute. 

As we have designed our interview process, we are asking questions about the qualities that we discussed in last week's blog and also asking about their aptitudes. We are setting up multiple interviews so we can get to know our candidates better. In addition to questions, we ask the candidates to do some homework, we ask them to navigate a spreadsheet while we are on the call to ensure they aren't fumbling around. We want employees that are able to efficiently use their tools. 

As you define your process, make sure you are spending "quality" time with your job candidates so you can learn more about them and make an informed decision about how well they will fit with your team and fulfill the roles of the job.  There are no shortcuts, it’s a “get to know you” game and that takes time. So, while you are in the process, make the most of it.

About the author 

Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi is a mom and author of Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers and Motherhood, Apple Pie, and all that Happy Horseshit. She is also a speaker and thought leader in areas of ecommerce accounting and Mom Entrepreneurship. Cyndi is the founder of bookskeep which provides accounting and Profit First advisory services to hundreds of ecommerce businesses around the world. When not helping business owners or her team, Cyndi can be found in her garden.

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