Assessing Character When Hiring

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Hiring is the most important decision you can make for your business. And when you choose to bring someone on board, you want to base that decision on much more than competency. You need to consider whether that person will fit with your team, your ideals and your corporate environment. Why?

Because people who fit into your culture will be more likely to be happy working for you, and “happy” employees are on average 31% more productive. They also:

  • Stay twice as long in their positions
  • Spend twice as long focused on work-related duties
  • Use ten times fewer sick days
  • Believe that they’re achieving their potential

Obviously, hiring candidates who have the right type of personality and values will raise your company’s retention rates and productivity. So how can you assess a candidate’s character when you’re hiring?

First, you have to make sure that anyone involved in hiring can define your corporate culture. What is your company’s purpose? What is your company’s philosophy, and what values does that philosophy reflect? And what are your company’s priorities—that is, what do your leaders and managers focus on to enable the organization to compete and thrive?

Next, look at your recruitment and selection practices. Do your recruitment materials—whether digital or printed—reflect your company’s culture? Do your recruitment practices support the culture? For example, when you meet with job applicants, do you talk about the organization’s culture, or model it? One reason these practices are important is that they give applicants a way to screen the organization themselves. They may decide that they don’t agree with your values or your culture, or that they don’t feel passionate about your organization’s purpose.

During interviews, you can draw out the candidates’ values with questions like:

  • Why do you want to work in this industry?
  • What do you hope to accomplish in life through your work?
  • What social issues are you drawn to and personally care about?
  • Have you ever worked in an organization where the work of the company was meaningful to you?
  • Describe the kind of work environment you prefer.

And if your recruitment materials as well as your branding do reflect your culture, you can add questions like:

  • In what ways do you think you are a fit with the values of our culture?
  • Why do you want to work for us rather than our competitors?

Peter Schutz, the former CEO of Porsche, stands by the statement that in order to succeed a company must “hire character” and “train skill.” It’s not easy to know whether the person you want to hire is a good match with your culture. But having a clear understanding of your company culture and developing carefully thought-out questions will help.

At Smith Hanley, we understand that finding the right candidate for the job is about much more than words on a resume. We can help you define your corporate culture, then help you find the employees who best represent it!

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