Hiring good people is one of the most difficult tasks that business owners face. Recruiting efforts are often handicapped by time constraints and the infrequency with which most business owners get involved in the hiring process. These factors add to the challenge of recruiting good employees.

The starting point for selecting the right person for the position is to make sure you have a clear and thorough job description for the position. This job description should include everything that is required for success in the position. Let me explain.

Job requirements are usually defined in a traditional job description that provides a list of the duties and responsibilities of the position. They outline the responsibilities and tasks that the position demands.

A good job description includes a detailed list of the specific tasks and activities that must be performed to achieve success. Each of the key responsibilities should be described in enough detail so that the applicant — and ultimately the person hired — has a clear understanding of what their responsibilities will be. A good job description also includes a list of the education, skills and background required to succeed in the position. A comprehensive job description that includes these elements provides an excellent starting point to help you select a candidate that is a good fit for the position.

However, this traditional job description does not list everything required for success. It does not include information about the behaviors, motivation and competencies required for success in the position.

As important as it is to have a good job description, though, it is only part of what is necessary for an optimum hiring experience. Most of the success that an employee will have in a position will relate less to what they need to do and more to the attitudes and behaviors of the person. As important as a good job description is, trying to hire a person without first developing a list of the attitudes and behaviors necessary for success in the position limits your ability to select the right candidate for the job.

Consider developing an “intangibles” profile when you start the hiring process. This profile will list the behaviors, attitudes, competencies and social skills that are required for success in the position.

Behaviors include such traits as friendliness, being outgoing, detail-oriented, etc. These elements describe the observable traits of a person and should correlate to the position’s tangible requirements. For example, it should be obvious that someone who does not enjoy interacting with people would not be a proper fit to fill a customer service position. Similarly, a person who is not detail-oriented should not be selected for a data entry position.

Attitudes refer to the motivation and drive of the person. People who prefer to act alone are not a good fit for positions that require working closely with a team. Someone who is not financially motivated will not generally succeed in a sales position that includes a significant amount of earnings that are paid via incentive.

Social skills address those attributes that should be learned while growing up. Being able to communicate effectively with others, treating people with respect, looking others in the eye — all of these are skills that people should learn prior to reaching working age.

Selecting a person who does not know how to interact with people effectively at a basic social level is a recipe for failure in any position where the new employee will deal with the public. Similarly, someone who does not present themselves properly or who has a sloppy or disheveled appearance will also cause you a challenge if you select them for a position dealing with your customers or prospects.

Competencies include the skills required for success. They describe the ability of the person to take their education and lessons learned through life and apply this knowledge in the work place. Examples of competencies include such things as customer focus, teamwork, conceptual thinking, personal accountability, leadership, problem solving, etc.

Finally, successful people are committed to their job and to doing their best for their employer. They have a strong work ethic. They appreciate the job they have and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work and provide for their family. Any candidate that does not display an attitude which indicates that they will work hard and be committed should not be selected.

Take some time when you start recruiting to prepare both the traditional job description as well as a list of the intangible factors important to the position. Then, as you advertise and interview candidates, make sure you select someone who matches the position profile you developed. The result of this discipline will be an increased frequency of hiring winners, and fewer incidents of having to deal with problem employees.