Finding the best employees to execute an entrepreneurial vision is always a challenge. Here is a new employee checklist detailing the seven traits new hires need in order to surround yourself with the most effective team possible.

1. Curiosity

Jay Gould, CEO and Co-Founder of Yashi, says people who exhibit intellectual curiosity are the critical thinkers all businesses need to grow deftly. Curious people will challenge assumptions, honing in on crucial blind spots that could make or break the outcomes of any decisions. While they might cause some short term friction, curious people usually provide huge payoffs in the long term. Plus, curious people are internally motivated to develop themselves and learn new skills.

Look for people who passionately pursue education and hobbies in their free time.

2. Competitiveness

Successful competitors are experienced in the preparation, hard work and resilience necessary to execute a vision. New entrepreneurs will need to find competitive people who are used to pushing past setbacks to reach a difficult goal.

Look for current and former athletes or people who engage in other competitive activities.

3. Integrity

Integrity is often the least considered trait on a new employee checklist. Don’t make the same mistake, because it’s probably the most important trait. Skills and smarts are worthless to you if you don’t trust your employees. Ethically compromised people are more willing to cut corners, lie, cheat and steal.

Look for applicants who can answer a question about their weaknesses with a self-aware honesty and humility. Question people who spin a weakness into a strength.

4. Collaborative Team Player

Hulya Aksu, founder of, always looks for grounded, collaborative employees. As an entrepreneur, you need employees who can work with and for a team to execute your vision, as opposed to those who work primarily for personal glory. Research suggests those who can manage the challenges of working on diverse teams produce better work.

Thus, find people with a knack for delivering timely results in team settings. Ask references if potential new hires can follow orders while still maintaining an open mind.

5. Resourcefulness and Creativity

People who are resourceful and creative can conjure multiple solutions to various problems. You need people on your team who can quickly and independently think through and implement solutions to the numerous problems that will crop up every day, says Steve Fredrick, co-founder of This allows for the inspiration upon which innovation is built.

Look for people who exhibit non-linear thinking while still being able to focus on the issue at hand. Ask interviewees to think through fantastical problems that require creative problem solving. Also, people who have lived abroad and have adapted to cross-cultural challenges appear to be better prepared to bend their minds to new obstacles.

6. Communicates Well

Clear and direct communication greases the operations of any business. But communication isn’t just about being verbally articulate, says Aksu. It also means being a good listener, as well as a good written and non-verbal communicator. The more miscommunication that occurs in a business, the less efficient and less effective it is.

Seek out people who are thoughtful and articulate when they communicate. Also make sure they can accurately reiterate information they have been given and understand how to communicate to different audiences.

7. Strong Work Ethic

Finally, you must find employees with a strong work ethic. However, leadership consultant Jason Jennings says the onus is on the entrepreneur to motivate employees to work their hardest. If you reward good work, treat employees fairly, and build a company culture that aligns with employee values, you can bring out the best in people.

Do you have your new employee checklist and are you ready to start the hiring process? UpCounsel Employment Attorneys can help make sure you attract and assemble the best team possible.

Image: “Paper and Pen” by Orin Zebest, used under CC BY 

About the author

Alex Liu

Alex Liu

Alex began his career as a scientific legal consultant and then as a journalist researching and reporting on health policy and health sciences. At UpCounsel, he enjoys researching and analyzing data to help businesses make informed decisions. In his free time, Alex is working on a documentary.

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