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What to Look for When Hiring Hourly Employees

For most companies, hourly employees are often the backbone of the business since they fill essential roles that are needed regularly. Hiring these employees can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially in today’s employment environment.

When hiring hourly employees, managers need to know what to look for during interviews. This is because if you hire without considering some factors, you may end up in the same position as looking for someone else.

Wondering what you should be looking for when hiring hourly employees? Keep reading to find out.

What are Hourly Employees?

In many businesses, some employees are in positions that are considered salaried due to the type of work they do. The other kind of employee in a business is an hourly employee who depends heavily on hours to make a living.

Hourly employees are the ones who typically are required to clock in and out and keep track of how many hours they work per week. Unless employers allow hourly employees to work overtime, they are typically allowed to work up to 40 hours per week.

People sit at a table in front of a man with a pad of paper.
Hiring hourly employees is different from hiring salaried employees. 

What are Hourly Employees Looking for in a Job?

Since employers rely on hourly employees to do the essential work that is required to keep the business running, these workers are often taken for granted. When an hourly employee takes a new position, they often have specific criteria they would like as part of their job.

In most cases, one of the most important factors that hourly employees look for in a position is the number of hours they are expected to work. This is mostly because they have financial obligations that have to be met through their paycheck.

Another factor that is considered before taking on a new position by employees who work hourly is the benefits that are offered. Many people want more than just the standard paycheck and insurance when they start a new job.

For many people, having a healthy work-life balance is important especially if they have a family that depends on them. This means offering various schedules and work formats for employees to choose from.

What to Look for When Hiring Hourly Employees

Employers who wish to find hourly employees who will have both the skills and specific criteria tend to work out better in the long run. This can be especially challenging in today’s hiring environment, where employees are looking for more out of their job opportunities.

To learn more about what you should be looking for when hiring hourly employees, read on.

An Eagerness to Learn New Skills

Most employers have a list of specific questions that they ask during interviews of potential candidates. These questions are often used to tell the employer more about the candidate and how they may fit within the company.

One area that hiring managers should focus on is whether or not the candidate they are interviewing is eager to learn new skills. Although the job may be within the skill set of the employee, there should always be the potential for new skills to be learned.

Employers can discern this by asking questions that will get them talking about what they like to do in their spare time. If they indicate that they are lifelong learners or enjoy reading, they are more likely to be eager to learn new skills that you may be able to offer.

Confident Candidates

There are typically two types of people in the world including extroverts and introverts. These two types are completely different in the way they interact with others during conversations and especially when they are interviewed.

Another factor employers should consider when hiring hourly candidates is whether or not they show confidence in their abilities. The best candidates are those who have the skills needed to get the job done but also have the confidence to pull them off.

Keep in mind that it is easy to mistake someone who is an introvert for not having confidence, so you should tread lightly. Being an introvert just means that they prefer to be alone, not that they do not have the confidence to do the job.

Strong Communication Skills

Within the first few minutes of an interview, employers can typically tell whether or not a candidate has good communication skills. This is seen in the way they put their words together and answer specific questions.

The skill of having strong communication in the workplace is a vital characteristic that employers should look for. This is especially true when the company is a customer-facing organization.

Some of the interview questions should be asked in such a way that allows the interviewee to show their ability to communicate. If they are reluctant to answer or stutter through the most basic questions, this could be a red flag.

Flexible Schedule

Depending on the type of organization you operate, you may be looking for hourly employees to have a flexible schedule. This is especially true if your company is in retail or relies on the flexibility of hours.

An important question to ask during an interview with an hourly candidate is whether or not they have schedule flexibility. Knowing this will help you determine whether they will be a good fit for your organization.

While in a perfect world, most people would love to work a regular schedule, however, when you are looking for hourly work, this is not always the case. Employers should look for those candidates who state in no uncertain terms that they have a flexible schedule.

Candidates with Ambition

If you are a hiring manager, then you have most likely interviewed a plethora of candidates that have various traits and skills. While some interviewees are thrilled to get to interview, others leave you wondering why they bothered in the first place.

For those looking for hourly employees, another characteristic you should consider is whether or not the candidate has ambition. This is the trait that decides whether or not they have plans.

Asking questions such as where they see themselves in the future can typically help employers understand how motivated they are. When someone has ambition, they are more likely to do well with whatever tasks they are given so they can learn something new.

Ability to Think Critically

In many organizations, the ability to think on your feet is one of the most important characteristics someone could have. This is especially true if you are running a business in the retail industry.

The ability to think critically is vitally important for candidates in the current job market since there can be many different situations that they find themselves in. Knowing how to think quickly and critically can help keep the company moving forward.

During the interview process, asking questions that require candidates to think critically and quickly is ideal. This can usually be done by giving them scenarios and asking how they would handle the situation.

Candidates Who Show Positivity

With the many obstacles that can occur within the workplace daily, having employees who keep a positive attitude is important. There is nothing more draining on an organization than employees who are negative about everything all the time.

When you are interviewing hourly candidates, you should focus on those who come in with a positive attitude. You can typically tell whether the person is putting on a front or whether they are a genuinely positive person.

The best way to test this theory is to give the candidate a few negative outcomes that could occur in the work they may do. Seeing how they would handle the situation can tell you whether or not they would be a good fit for the company.

Problem-Solving Skills

In most companies today, the ability to solve problems is the key to the success of not only the individual but also the company. This is because most people, including management, are busy with their work and do not have time to micromanage employees.

Having good problem-solving skills means that the candidate is most likely able to work on their own with little or no supervision. Once they are trained to do the job, they will be able to handle most situations that come their way.

Checking for this skill during an interview is done by questioning the candidate on past problem-solving situations. Asking about how they solved difficult situations in the past can help you to know whether or not they are a good fit for the job.

Ability and Desire to Work on a Team

While many companies need candidates who can work individually when the job calls for it, they sometimes also need team players. Working as part of a team is one of the best ways to keep the company moving forward.

When interviewing hourly candidates, you should look for their willingness to be a team player as well as work independently. In today’s working environment, hourly employees need to have both skills and a desire to do them.

To discern whether a candidate can work effectively on a team, you can ask various questions about their past work experience. Asking whether or not they have worked on a team in the past can help you to figure out if they can do that in your organization.

Strong Work Ethic

Most employers in today’s working environment have noticed a decline in the work ethic of many employees. With younger generations seemingly taking jobs because they need the money, the work ethic can sometimes be lousy.

No matter what type of organization you operate, you likely depend on those with a strong work ethic to get the job done correctly. This means that you need hourly employees who are not only willing but also able to get the job done in a timely manner.

This characteristic can also be discovered during the interview process through many different questions you may ask. Asking the right questions can prevent you from hiring candidates who you will later need to let go of.

A woman stands at a counter with a laptop on it.
When hiring hourly employees, communication skills and a strong work ethic are a must.

Tips for Hiring Hourly Employees

Hiring hourly employees can be a daunting task, especially if you are not sure what you should be looking for. This is especially true in today’s working environment when it is more difficult to find the right candidates.

As with most situations, there are many tips that you can use to help you make the right decisions in hiring.

Here are some of the most common tips when it comes to hiring the right hourly employees:

  • Make sure candidates know that the job you are hiring for is more of an entry-level position that could lead to something else down the line.
  • Create job descriptions that have realistic and measurable expectations
  • While having an employee referral system can be effective, you may need to limit this to ensure you are getting quality referrals
  • Develop a limit on the number of applications you will take for a specific position, thus creating a sense of urgency for those more qualified

While there are most likely more tips out there to ensure you hire the right person for your hourly position, these are the ones that seem to help the most.

Downsides of Hiring Hourly Employees

Hiring hourly employees can be a challenging task, especially with the job market the way it is today. With many people looking to have more flexibility in their working hours and environment, it can be difficult to find the right people.

During the interview process, several red flags may come up from time to time with certain candidates. To hire the right candidate, you should ensure that you are taking note of these red flags before making a final hiring decision.

Ready to Hire Hourly Employees for Your Company?

Now that you have a better understanding of what you should look for when hiring hourly employees, you should be ready to get started. Before you do, you may want to check out some of the most important hiring trends that are floating around in today’s hiring environment.

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