Account team discussion. Photo young business crew working with new startup project.Notebook on wood table. Idea presentation, analyze marketing plans.Creative process.Blurred background,film effect.The hiring process poses a number of risks to any organization. As a small business owner, you have many legal responsibilities under federal employment anti-discrimination laws. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not asking prohibited questions or discriminating against a job applicant based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information. You also want to make sure you’re handling pre-employment screening and inquiries correctly.

That’s why we have assembled a detailed, multi-part education program for our clients called “Work Smart,” filled with documented smart business practices in every area, including hiring. Companies can use this information to build more risk-proof activities and procedures, avoiding potential business risks such as asking prohibited questions during the application process.

When hiring, the ultimate goal of course is to find an employee who is a good fit for your business. No doubt you’ve found some qualities that have worked well within your organization. Beyond skills and education, here are four qualities that research shows that employers should consider looking for while assessing a job applicant:

Adaptability. Change is constant. Look for evidence the applicant can adapt to changing times. Do they view challenging times as opportunities to grow and succeed or are they afraid to take risks? Do they manage change or do they seem to avoid it? Are they annoyed by day-to-day hassles and problems or do they approach them with a cheerful attitude? Are they immobilized by obstacles or do they find a way around them?

Initiative. Do previous employers say the job applicant has a history of volunteering for projects and/or assignments? Does the applicant’s resume suggest he or she seeks out opportunities? Or does he or she do just what is required to get by? In today’s world, you want bright employees with a great work ethic and a can-do attitude.

Empathy. A job applicant may be intelligent, but do they have emotional intelligence? Do they work well with other people? People who regularly seek out opportunities to help other people can be valuable additions to most any team.

A positive attitude. Positive people view challenges as opportunities to learn, adapt, and succeed. Workplace research shows that positive attitudes can be contagious among co-workers, so it’s vital to add enthusiastic and upbeat people to your company.