My business success is very important to me and, while I have many management responsibilities, I really try to focus on the people we hire. They are the heart and soul of our company and they are the engine of our business. I try to interview many of the employees we hire because I value the team concept and the contribution of every person. I also want to ensure that the people we hire are a good fit for our team environment, our values and the skills and knowledge we need to succeed.
As a manager, I am always looking for good team members and I want to hire a candidate who is dedicated, professional, ethical and technically skilled. As I probe for answers to these questions, I try to focus on what a candidate knows that can help our team, rather than grilling them on a subject area they don’t know.
My goal is not to 'catch' the candidate by finding an area of weakness and pointing out how they need to improve or change.
I DO want to know what they don't know so that I can make an educated decision on where to place them in the organization and the kinds of training and mentoring that will best suit that particular candidate and make them an asset to the business as they grow.
But, my real focus is on attitude and behavior.
Skills can be acquired but attitude rarely changes.
If someone is dedicated and has a 'can do' attitude and exhibits team behaviors, they are a much better fit in any organization. You can't make someone WANT to succeed or to cooperate.
I would rather hire someone who has solid skills that may need to be honed, but possesses an excellent attitude, demonstrates team behavior and dedication and will grow with the business professionally and personally. Highly skilled people are great but if they come into the job with the idea that they have no flaws or weaknesses, they are not likely to succeed.
When I interview a candidate, I try to trace the boundaries of their skills and knowledge and find out what they can do well. Rather than asking them questions or testing them on domains or technical questions they can't answer, I want to find out how they handle themselves in a situation, how they interact with others, and what they believe their role or impact might be within the organization.
Attitude is THE key!
We would all like to think that there are legions of perfect employees waiting for a job opening in our company, but there is no such thing as perfect skills, or a complete knowledge of any domain.
There is, however, the perfect employee profile!
If you understand what you need, and how candidates will fit in your organization, you will choose the right person. It sounds like an empty promise, but behavior, attitude, ethics, values and respect will help your organization to succeed.
Choose employees who want to grow and learn and who will promote growth and learning in others. Provide the right training to enhance technical and professional skills and watch your organization (and your people) thrive!