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Recognizing Quality

By November 18, 2013 No Comments

candidates racingRecruiting top notch candidates is part art, part science.  You may know a hot candidate when you see one – the problem-solving leader with drive, passion, and an unwavering positive attitude – but the way you interview may make it struggle to recognize those qualities.

Fletcher Wimbush of ERE wrote an article earlier this month that explored the top 10 qualities of an ideal candidate, according to an informal survey of business leaders.  They are:

  1. A positive approach to problem solving
  2. A drive to exceed expectations
  3. Motivation to grow professionally and personally
  4. Engagement at work
  5. Humility
  6. Organization
  7. Self motivation
  8. Empathy
  9. Resourcefulness
  10. Social awareness

Finding someone with the right education and experience can be simple enough – in many cases, the market is flooded with qualified candidates – but how many of the resumes on your desk represent individuals that would fit seamlessly into your team and your corporate culture?  Selecting candidates based on more intangible qualities can be a challenge.  The first step is knowing what qualities you really value in your team members.  Make a list of your own: most desirable qualities in candidates – a wish list of sorts.

Now comes the tougher part: you’ve got to be able to recognize what those qualities look like in behaviors and actions so that you can more easily spot them in prospective hires.  Consider where in your own team each particular trait is demonstrated.  Perhaps Mary down the hall is the picture of resourcefulness.  She consistently provides excellent work, sometimes drawing on unexpected sources and frequently finding innovative solutions to problems.

As you move through your list, finding real-world examples of your most desirable attributes, you’ll find it easier to structure interview questions about them.  To determine whether a certain candidate is driven and self-motivated, for instance, ask “how do you handle lulls in your workload, and what do you do if you feel you’ve reached a plateau?”  You may glean a more telling response than if your prompt was, “tell me about a time when you demonstrated drive and self-motivation” (too easy!).

Compare interviewee’s responses with the behaviors you pride among your existing team members.  When candidates’ attitudes and emotional intelligence seem to align with what you already love about your team, you have likely found an excellent match.