It always surprises me when I hear that busi- ness owners have hired or are considering hir- ing an employee that they haven’t thoroughly researched. Regardless of the size of your company, it’s important to know who you are bringing into the fold, to protect your rights and interests, minimize risk, and pick the best possible candidate for the position you are seeking to fill. When I hire employees I’m aiming for long- term relationships that benefit both the em- ployee and my company. The more time I put into finding the right person, the higher the likelihood is that I will meet that goal. A significant amount of our time each day is spent at work; there is no reason to keep a bad player on your team. A toxic personali- ty who doesn’t mesh with others can easily spread gloom throughout an office and lower morale. A cheerful team player will have the opposite effect, helping to make your place of employment feel like a second home, some- where you are genuinely happy to go each day, and be productive while you’re there. Before moving into our building, my current officemates and I had several informal meet- ings where we expressed our expectations and hopes of having an office where all of us could be productive, while also maintaining a positive workspace that fosters goodwill. This is crucial to us (and everyone else, I imagine) as each one of us is involved in the legal com- munity and we tend to be workaholics. It was, and still is, important to us all to have open lines of communication and address any ten- sion before it becomes a problem. Finding the right support staff was and re- mains a high priority. Law offices are gener- ally fast paced and there are daily fires to put out. There are times we are literally dealing with life and death situations. The work can be stressful, but is also extremely rewarding. Common sense is a must, as is integrity, quick- ly admitting to a mistake and finding a solu- tion to fix an issue is hugely important, and a sense of humor is highly valued and essential. For some, experience may be high on the list of qualities you are searching for, and for others a willingness to learn and good attitude might be key. As in any relationship, it’s im- portant to prioritize what qualities your em- ployees must have and know what your deal breakers are before you begin the search for a new employee. In the age of social media it’s not hard to do your due diligence and flesh out potential employees. Take Facebook for example, if your future employee is posting he or she hates their current position, has daily photos of cocktails before noon, posts hourly selfies and updates, or is clearly a job-hopper you may want to pass on that person and check out your next candidate. Those habits are not likely to change when they are working for you. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as seeing an employee play on the Internet when you are trying to meet a deadline. We’ve all either experienced or heard stories of an employee who dipped into company money, quit without any notice, isn’t timely, takes sick days to go skiing or golfing, etc. You are not necessarily going to stop that from happening, but knowing who your future employee is can arm you with information on whether that person will be a good fit for your company. I’m the first one willing to give someone a chance, but I need to know up- front what I am dealing with so I can make an informed decision.