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Want to Hire 'A' Players? 7 Qualities of Top Performers

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi

These traits and their associated behaviors are signs you've got a winner on your hands.

Amazing employees can be hard to find. Sure, you can find people who will show up on time and do what they're supposed to do, but what else do they add to your business? When hiring employees for your company, you want people who are going to make a difference in your work environment and help your business grow to new heights.

Top performers are a company's greatest asset: They value what they do, go above and beyond what's asked of them, and are constantly striving to improve. But how do you find these mystical top-performing employees? As long as you know what qualities to look for, you can easily identify which candidates will go the extra mile for you.

If you want to hire 'A' players, here are seven qualities to look for.

1. Good communication

Poor communicators can cause a wide variety of problems in your workplace, including disorganization between departments, higher stress levels, nasty workplace gossip and even dissatisfied clients. So make sure to look for candidates who are good communicators.

Good communication is the ability not only to relay a message effectively, but to be an active listener. Top performers will be able to listen to their teammates effectively, provide clear feedback and instructions, and promote open communication within your office. Some signs of a good communicator are maintaining eye contact, asking questions, not interrupting and showing empathy for others.

2. Self-direction

Not having to constantly be on top of your employees to get things done is priceless to a business owner. That's why self-direction is a trait you need in your employees. Top performers are self-motivated, take the initiative to start up new assignments and take on challenges without being asked.

Self-directed employees constantly meet and exceed their performance expectations with little help from you. Signs of a self-directed individual include having long-term visions or goals, putting in the extra time, not sweating the small stuff, and being willing to take risks.

3. Open to feedback

An excellent employee is a coachable employee, which means they need to be open to feedback. Top-performing employees don't shy away from constructive feedback; they embrace it, because they're interested in receiving knowledge that will help them progress to the next level. Watch for people who don't get defensive in feedback situations, don't blame others or give excuses, and are interested in their own growth as a person and professional.

4. Strives for innovation

Fresh ideas are important to any business that wants to grow and stay ahead of the competition, so help your business get there by hiring innovative employees. Employees who constantly strive for innovation and are confident enough to share those new ideas with employers and co-workers can really put your company on the fast track to success.

Innovators can come up with processes to increase productivity, brainstorm engaging marketing campaigns, and even improve the quality of your products or services. An innovative hire is one who has a strong ability to solve problems and conflicts, searches for information and resources independently, and thoroughly presents new ideas and solutions. 

5. Constantly learning

If a candidate has a yearning for learning, you've found a top performer. Just because you've earned a degree doesn't mean your learning is over; someone who wants to expand upon their skills and learn as much as they can throughout their career and lifetime will be a great asset to your company.

Plus, it's much easier to promote an existing employee than to hire a new person, so an employee with a desire to learn is key to company growth. Look out for candidates who are always asking questions and for feedback, and who are interested in furthering their education with online courses and seminars.

6. Positive attitude

An employee can bring down your entire team if they're unpleasant to be around, so never underestimate the importance of a positive attitude. A simple smile between co-workers each day is enough to improve workplace morale, but if you can hire people with positive attitudes, your team will thrive even more. A person who possesses a positive attitude has the ability to motivate others, doesn't let the negative stuff affect their performance, and understands the importance of relationships in the workplace.

7. Leadership

Of course you want employees who are team players, but top performers are not only team players – they're leaders. An employee becomes exponentially more valuable to your company when they can motivate others, not just themselves.

A leader has the ability to manage the effectiveness of your whole team, as well as the effectiveness of individuals, which will save you a lot of time as a business owner. You're talking to a candidate with leadership qualities if they're a good listener, they're resourceful, they give credit where it's due, and they avoid micromanaging by trusting their peers.

Don't settle for "worker bees." By looking for these qualities during your hiring process, you'll quickly identify top performers who will consistently work to better your company. Sure, you can hire employees with the best education and work experience, but no resume can beat these valuable qualities.

Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock
Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi,
business.com Writer
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Hello, I'm Syed Balkhi, a 27 year old award-winning entrepreneur with a strong 8 figure online business. I was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. At age 12, my family immigrated to the United States. Ever since I can remember, I have been extremely competitive which makes me hustle at everything that I do.