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First impressions: how to hire the right people

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Tessara Smith,  PayScale

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If candidates blow a major interview and somehow manage to still get hired for a position then the company is either A) desperate or B) knows that they have a track record of proven success. If they are lucky enough to be able to kick down the door to great jobs based on experience alone, kudos to them. For the rest of the candidates out there, making a great first impression will determine their fate not only in regards to getting the job but also the attitude the employer will have towards them throughout their tenure at the company.

Here are some traits employers should look out for when conducting initial interviews in order to makes sure they hire the right people.

Drive
An employee can be smart, knowledgeable, highly accredited, and noticeably intelligent in comparison to other interviewees. However, if they lack passion about the job then this candidate may be a no go. It takes more than just book smarts for an employee to thrive in a work environment. Ask candidates questions that will help you to determine if they possess internal “drive”.

Strong Intuition
Your employee should have a good sense of direction when it comes to taking on their workload. They should not have to be told what tasks need to be done every day and they should be able to work independently and complete assignments without being told. A great employee will also be able to share your vision of what needs to get done in terms of company goals. If you are going to be managing this employee directly, ask yourself if you can work with this person as a team.

Consistent Work Ethic
There will be times when your new employee is not going to feel up to performing due to heavy workload or for reasons that go beyond the workplace. Their work ethic will dictate how much they get done regardless of how they come into office feeling. Furthermore, a great employee knows that the work is never “done”, and will be quick to move on to start new projects upon completion of the previous ones. In this case, it is best to directly ask a candidate about their work philosophy, as it can be hard to pick out this trait from conversation alone.

Good Values
Your new employee should be able to be held accountable for always doing their work to the best of their ability. They will strive to always hand in exceptional projects. If this person seems like a perfectionist then they are probably a great fit for your company. A good candidate will be honest about their skills and capabilities as well as demonstrate an eagerness to learn more about the position.

Positive Attitude
The last thing you need is a new hire that becomes a dark rain cloud in the office. Keep in mind that this candidate will need to be a good culture fit with the rest of your current employees. Will this person contribute to the overall positive energy of your team? If the answer is yes, then this person will be a great addition to your office environment.

Ability to Bounce Back
This is a big one. Can this person take criticism? As a leader you need to be able to have the freedom to give this person negative feedback without worrying if they are going to react by immediately handing in their two weeks’ notice. You want your new employee to be able to take your input and rebound by working harder. Inquire about obstacles this potential employee has faced in the work life and ask how they have worked to overcome these obstacles? A great candidate will have no problem discussing past failures and will be quick to explain how they learned from these experiences.

The job market is tough right now. There are many candidates out there eager to please and impress during their initial interview. Unfortunately, not every future star employee is going to be a great interviewee. Some can’t help but let their nerves get the best of them when trying to impress a potential employer. Unless your candidate is going to work in sales, instead of focusing in on their social skills, look for the traits mentioned here to determine if they have the potential to become an exceptional employee at your company.

Need to get the pay right for that hot new candidate you're seeking? Get a Free Salary Report from PayScale to match your hard-to-price jobs to the market. 

3 Comments

  1. 3 Heaven 09 Aug
    Dear Sir, I like to your consulting also i am intersting to join your company.thank you
  2. 2 Gary 06 Aug
    A great article which identifies those attributes which do indeed point to productive, motivated staff who also possess the right personal values. Frustratingly, it is almost impossible to discern whether these attributes exist (and to what degree) via an interview. Many job applicants are being coached to improve their interview performance. A better method is to apply an on-line psychometric test to measure and quantify these essential job-success attributes. As professional recruiters, we realized that such a tool was essential, and we developed such a product in 2011 called StaffMatcher. There are other products around, however it's worth checking out www.staffmatcher.com and downloading their free reports to take a look.
  3. 1 Gary 06 Aug
    A great article which identifies those attributes which do indeed point to productive, motivated staff who also possess the right personal values. Frustratingly, it is almost impossible to discern whether these attributes exist (and to what degree) via an interview. Many job applicants are being coached to improve their interview performance. A better method is to apply an on-line psychometric test to measure and quantify these essential job-success attributes. As professional recruiters, we realized that such a tool was essential, and we developed such a product in 2011 called StaffMatcher. There are other products around, however it's worth checking out www.staffmatcher.com and downloading their free reports to take a look.

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