Leadership Article


Are You Hiring the Right People?

How many times in the quest to get a technically competent employee to deliver on an important project do we get sucked into the skills and credentials listed on their resume? After hiring and training them we then find out that they have the personality of a door knob and won't fit into the team.

We then realize that we have just wasted thousands of dollars in recruiting, interviewing, training and patiently waiting for this employee to start performing. Has this ever happened to you? It has to me.

So how do we avoid this? I'm fairly certain that by now you probably have learned about behavior based interviewing methodology. That's where you ask your candidate how would you handle ___________? Fill in the blank with a hypothetical situation of medium difficulty that they would be facing in the job that they are interviewing for. You can then assess their competence by their response. If they don't know, they can't fake it.

So often we are in the market for the best and brightest we forget that the candidate must not only have the requisite skill set but even more importantly have the personality traits and value system to be successful in the job as well as fit into the culture.

I mean would you want an accounting professional to be creative in their work? Most certainly not, you want such a candidate to stringently stick to procedures and be attentive to detail and have perspective of the big picture.

I personally have interviewed numerous people who "look good on paper". They would have lots of years in the job and industry with credentials and certifications coming out of their ears. But when I asked, "How would you handle this situation? The Lead Engineer just told you to get out of the area because you pointed out that the lifting device is out of cert when you were supporting the 'okay to move' operation."

The answers I received were varied and colorful. But what I was looking for was an answer that indicated the candidate would:

  • stay cool under pressure
  • recognize a co-worker's response in their own issue
  • have the fortitude to stand her or his ground
  • demonstrate great interpersonal skills by taking the conversation into a positive direction
  • add value by helping to work through the issue to solve it

Because personality traits are something we experience in our interactions with others, most of us don't think about it consciously. But on analyzing it, you can uncover what is important, especially when you are the hiring manager.

When you are preparing to interview if you are uncertain which traits are needed for the right person to be successful in the job and team you can reflect on the habits and traits of the highly productive employees currently in place. Pay attention to the characteristics and values they demonstrate in the way they would interact and perform their job that will make them successful.

For a list of characteristics, that I like to call Unique Abilities click on this link : Unique Abilities.