Finding and recruiting the ‘right’ employee is difficult, period. The bottom line is that it is NOT a ‘black and white’ process. Resumes and interviews can only do so much. No one really knows who is going to be a ‘rock star’ until you can actually see the person in action, real time. Right, wrong or indifferent, hiring ideal employees is risky business.
That said, a company’s human assets are its most valuable intellectual collateral. And choosing a new member of the team is a huge responsibility that can turn into a blessing or a very costly mistake. So how do you find that next rising star that can hit the ground running, gel with others and quickly become a leader of ideas and people?
In my experience, it comes down to 5 key employee ‘cornerstones.’
Look for these traits and add these ‘cornerstones’ to your recruiting criteria when finding your next employee. You won’t regret it!
The 5 Cornerstones of ‘Ideal’ Employees
- Competency: The ideal employee consistently demonstrates that they know what they are talking about AND can back it up with performance and evidence. I call the ‘competent’ cornerstone the ‘bare minimum’ needed criteria. At the end of the day, all cornerstones, if not lived out, can be show stoppers.
- Credibility: You can be a ‘competent’ employee but not credible at all. Said differently, a beautiful resume without anyone validating or backing up your success isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. People, namely, your key stakeholders must be able to validate your ‘credibility on the street.’ Without credibility, respect and trust from others is not a guarantee.
- Character: Character has everything to do with an employee’s leadership acumen, moral and ethical compass. Does this employee always try to do the right thing, project a team and inclusive attitude, even ‘pick up the trash on the floor when no one is looking?’ sort of persona. In my book, character surpasses competency and credibility, hands down. To be clear, we are not looking for perfect ‘character.’ We are looking for perfect ‘intent.’ The intent to be better than we were yesterday. The intent to try to converge, collaborate and support one another and win or lose…together. That’s character.
- Contribution: Employees, at all levels, regardless of title or position or level of responsibility, are paid to perform. I’m not saying we’re trained ‘circus animals.’ I’m saying we are all expected to deliver on ‘our promises’ and commitments to the company. The ‘ideal’ employee understands this ‘business contract’ and ‘brings it’ every day to fulfill this contract. Look for dedication, perseverance and a can-do attitude and you will find an employee dedicated to making a meaningful contribution and beyond.
- Culture Fit: Having been blessed to have literally worked with thousands of individuals spanning more than 40 organizations and industries, I can tell you that the number one factor that makes for an ideal employee is ‘culture fit.’ Peter Drucker used to say that ‘culture eats strategy for lunch.’ And it’s absolutely true. You can meet ‘cornerstones’ 1-4 but miss on the ‘culture fit’ cornerstone, and I can guarantee that employee will not last at that company.
Look for these personality strengths in prospective candidates. I’ve always said . . . give me an employee who meets all 5 cornerstone characteristics and I’ll bet my team against your team any day of the week. 🙂
Your Leadership Challenge:
These characteristics don’t just apply to job candidates. They apply to EVERYONE – you, your current team, your boss, etc. Make sure you are living up to these traits and helping your team to do the same.
I’d Love to hear about your Challenges, really
Privately send me your challenges, questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, but I will be candid, truthful and genuine. All of us can inspire, lead and achieve, and drive higher performance and organizational health if we simply work at it.
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