Top traits of ideal employees according to three small business owners


The talent you engage for your business will be key to your success. After all, your team is your business. So recruitment needs to be taken very seriously. Here, three small businesses in very different industries tell us what they look for, and perhaps most importantly, why.

Peter Kanterelis, Founder of technology supplier

There's often truth behind clichés. We want to build a team that is built on honesty, passion, self-drive and a pinch of quirkiness.

We have used that formula for over 16 years and have staff with us for more than 10 of those years. It creates a culture of brutal honesty when needed for tough decisions, but I know that the answers I get from questions asked are from the heart as there's passion behind their answer. This creates a level of trust.

But I also don’t want to be a run of the mill company; quirky personality traits can break the tension, generate genuine rapport with customers and overall, create an exciting environment.

Penny Spencer, Founder of business travel agency Spencer Travel

Having been in business for many years, I've developed a particular recruitment process based on hiring for a particular set of values. At the Spencer Group of Companies we send prospective employees a copy of our company values - CHARGE: Confidence. Honesty. Appreciation. Reliable. Gratitude. Enthusiasm.

We ask them to tell us which value resonates most with them and why, and we only interview those who we feel are a good values-fit for our organisation. The subsequent interviews help us tease out more insights, and our final decisions are based on those.

Dr Marcus Tan, CEO and Founder of health-tech startup HealthEngine

We're always on the lookout for exceptional creative, developer and engineering talent. In fact, we’re currently undergoing a recruitment drive for these roles as we speak. These are some of the top traits I look for in candidates:

  • Curious questioners: our team is inquisitive, always exploring and challenging the norm. We look for talent that breaks down a problem and doesn’t accept ‘it’s impossible’ as the answer
  • Speedy executors: we think fast, and act fast. Our team owns their work and delivers on time, so all candidates must possess this mentality
  • Active learners: we seek, explore and find. That said, we look for candidates who possess an open-mind mentality; and
  • Genuine carers: our offering has a positive impact on Australian society and our team takes pride in this. We look for employees who love helping others and aim to bring happiness and joy to the lives of others. After all, no one wants to work in an office which lacks a caring team.