There is a quote by Larry Bossidy, the former CEO of AlliedSignal and an executive at General Electric, that I believe sums up in a nutshell what a successful hiring process is all about, “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”
For a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to hire over the summer, they can count on receiving plenty of resumes and cover letters from potential job candidates looking for employment, all of which come accompanied with a list of reasons why they’re the best possible fit for the open position.
But with so many buzzwords leaping off of the page of a resume and an endless series of in-person interviews to conduct, what should a business really be focused on seeking out in new hires, especially if they plan on keeping them on well after the summer ends?
Years of experience have taught me to look for the following five qualities, both on the page and off it.
1) Good attitude.
Employees are as much a part of the face of a company as the brand itself is and it’s important that they reflect a glass half full mentality over a glass half empty. Look for a positive, can-do attitude in the job applicant. These are often best illustrated when asking for an example of how they went above and beyond in their job position to do something that wasn’t necessarily required from them or when asking how past and present coworkers would best describe them in three words.
2) History of a strong work ethic.
This is more than just plugging in a few years with a company and listing your boss as a reference to call for more information – make sure that the applicant is clear and descriptive about what they did that made them stand out while working there and how they helped aid to the success of the company in doing so.
3) Openness and willingness to learn.
This point may be the most important of all and ties in well with the quote I mentioned earlier. It’s easy for a business to hire new people to join their team, but becomes much harder to develop said hires into the company culture fold if the new employee balks at the idea of learning new things. Be open to learning something new as much as possible and see it as an opportunity to really make a stride forward!
4) Intelligence and aptitude.
Is this applicant a good fit for the position? Do they have the past work experience and schooling to back their credentials up? And in the event of a crisis, would they be prepared to leap in and take action to help out? As author Jim Collins mentions in his book Good to Great, a successful person is a smart person and smart people will ask a lot of questions, which reveal how passionate they are about the business and the skill set that is involved in the position that they need in order to succeed there.
5) Drive and focus.
The best new hires are the ones that have a little bit of Edna Mode in them. A character from the Pixar film The Incredibles who designs the costumes for the superhero family, Edna is a firm believer in pulling yourself together and advancing forward in life and business, “Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win!” New hires need that instinct and inner sense of purpose within them, in order to propel the company forward and make the business stand out!