4 Tips to Finding Your Dream Employee

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Dream Employee

What do you do when your business has grown to the point where you can no longer do everything yourself? You can team up with trusted colleagues as needed, hire subcontractors, or even hire employees.

Finding your dream employee is an big step, so I’m happy to share some tips to help you through the process.


Are you looking for the perfect addition to your team? A hard worker who always earns the employee of the month title by a landslide?

If you are, then you probably know that hiring the right people can be tough. Sifting through resumes and conducting endless interviews is often pretty exhausting. However, with a few helpful tips (and a whole lot of patience), this process can yield exactly what you’re looking for—a perfect employee.

Read on for four tips to finding your dream employee!

#1 Make a Checklist

It’s hard to find the right person for the job when you’re not sure what to look for.

Before you begin the hiring process, sit down with your team and create a detailed checklist that defines everything you want from the ideal candidate. Qualifications on this checklist may include:

  • Educational requirements (degree and major)
  • Desired skills, certifications, and interests
  • Minimum years of experience needed
  • A list of references
  • A portfolio of previous work

Using a checklist will help you determine the best contenders to move forward with. You may want to note these requirements in the description of your job posting in order to narrow down your applicant pool from the get-go.

#2 Conduct a Multi-Step Hiring Process

A skimmed resume and a five-minute interview may sound appealing when you’re running out of steam. Unfortunately, this hasty strategy can leave you with an employee you may regret hiring.

Find your dream employee

Every company’s recruitment process will look a little different, but there are some basic steps most employers tend to incorporate:

  • Pre-screening – A pre-screening will determine if an applicant has the proper qualifications for the job. This step can be done over the phone, or through an online quiz they take at home.
  • Video interview – Before bringing anyone into the office, a virtual interview can help employers get a general idea of the candidate they’re pursuing. These interviews are typically short and focus on basic information about the candidate and the job description.
  • In-person interview – The first in-person interview is often conducted by the HR department. This is the time to ask about previous work experience and why the applicant is interested in the job.
  • Second in-person interview – If an applicant makes it past the HR interview, they will usually meet with the head(s) of the department they’re applying for. The questions asked at this stage of the process should be more specific to the job and may be a bit more thorough.

#3 Run a Background Check

If you’re seriously considering a candidate, it’s important to fully vet them prior to extending a job offer.

To confirm the information they’ve provided is true, you’ll want to run a background check employment history. This will verify the experience listed on an applicant’s resume and determine whether or not they are qualified for the job. Additionally, a background check can uncover information related to:

  • Criminal charges
  • Identity theft and SSN verification
  • Problems with previous employers
  • Credit inquiries

#4 Use an Applicant Tracking System

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of applications flooding in, try using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to make things easier.

An ATS is software that can perform a wide variety of duties to simplify your hiring process, including:

  • Organize qualified candidates (and under-qualified candidates)
  • Send mass emails to applicants you’re pursuing
  • Keep track of interview schedules
  • Launch recruitment ventures

In the modern world, hiring no longer needs to be difficult. Simplify your search by utilizing technology where you can.

Good Employees Are Rare

“A great employee is like a four-leaf clover. Hard to find and lucky to have.”

– Tammy Cohen

It’s true, the perfect employee won’t simply show up out of the blue. It takes time and effort to narrow down your search when recruiting candidates for your company. With that being said, the reward is worth the extra work. When you find a dream employee, your business can flourish because of them.

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Eliza Picot

After relocating from the East Coast, Eliza made a new home in Denver where she received a degree in finance. Her love for mystery thrillers is only outweighed by a desire to pick up a pen and craft her own work. Coupled with her education and years of experience in bookkeeping, Eliza's niche offers readers useful money-saving tips and creative ways to better manage finances. Her success has landed her work in major publications and has warranted esteemed recognition amongst elite finance bloggers. Growing up in culturally-rich Massachusetts, and spending so much time as a child reveling in Victorian architecture, Eliza developed an interest in interior design at a young age. She continues to pursue this hobby when she's not writing about tax codes, IRAs, and Real Estate Investment Trusts, and has garnered a massive Pinterest following with her whimsical inspirations.

Join the Conversation


  1. Avatar Ronni Eisenberg on December 7, 2020 at 8:09 am

    I’ve hired numerous freelancers and consultants over the years. I agree, it’s so important to do your due diligence when hiring, especially with references. I know we are often inclined to go with our gut when hiring someone. But sometimes, our gut doesn’t give us all the information that we really do need.
    So much time and effort goes into training. Looking back, I’ve been incredibly lucky and grateful in some instances and needs improvement and others.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 8, 2020 at 11:34 am

      I remember years ago hiring someone (for my job, not my business) and telling my co-workers she was “quirky” – um, yeah, she was actually not stable… I’ve learned a lot since then!

  2. Avatar Seana Turner on December 7, 2020 at 8:47 am

    I haven’t done much hiring, so this is very helpful. I completely agree with that quote. Quality employees and workers are a treasure indeed! Once you find them, you don’t want to ever lose them.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 8, 2020 at 11:34 am

      It’s kind of like clients – when you find a good one, you do whatever it takes to keep them! Maybe not so much in your line of work…

  3. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on December 7, 2020 at 9:43 am

    All of these tips are important to get the right employee or subcontractor. I helped several clients determine the right ideal employee/subcontractor they were looking for in their businesses over the years. We would create an employee task checklist on what they are looking for and create questions to ask when interviewing people. I found writing down what you do not want will help you determine what you DO want in an employee. Also, making a checklist for the owner to go through so they do not forget any of the hiring process steps is important. Owners usually do not often hire, so they may need reminding on what needs to be done during this process.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 8, 2020 at 11:35 am

      I’m finding that checklists are the way to go for nearly any task!

  4. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on December 7, 2020 at 9:47 am

    In my pre-organizing days (almost 30 years ago,) I did a fair amount of hiring employees. At this point, I don’t, but I do hire consultants and others to help me with specific projects. In almost all cases, the people I hire are either referred by someone I know (vetted already), or they are someone I know personally through my networks.

    Clients hire me. While I’m not an employee, I aim to provide that “four-leaf clover” type service.

  5. Avatar Melanie on December 7, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve structured my business with the intention to expand and hire employees eventually. This is incredibly helpful! Thanks, Janet.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 8, 2020 at 11:36 am

      I’m glad it was helpful! I included some links below to other posts on similar topics.

  6. Julie Bestry Julie Bestry on December 8, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    In my prior career in television, I hired my own staff and sometimes weighed in on hiring others, and it’s amazing how many companies have no procedures in place. On the flip side, I’ve been through the interview process where the interviewer was more interested in talking than learning anything about me, meaning that I could have been a horrible fit and they’d never have known. You’ve laid out the process for an organized, streamlined, effective employee search. This will be helpful to so many employers!

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