6 Profitable Ways To Identify Top Talent During The Interview

Interviewing female business candidate

Great Leaders Hire Great Talent

“I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.”   ~Lee Iacocca

This is one common trait all great leaders share.  They know the best way to win in business is by hiring the best talent, and they’re not afraid to hire someone smarter than themselves. They know their people are one of their most important competitive advantages, so they hire smart and bring on top talent.  After all, it’s the people they employ who are responsible for achieving their vision and the company’s success.  According to a 2016 Gallup State of the American Manager Report, hiring the top 20% of candidates leads to a 10% increase in productivity, 20% increase in sales, 30% increase in profitability, and a 25% reduction in unscheduled absences. Hiring the best people is one of the most profitable investments you can make in your business. So, what things should you consider when hiring new associates to ensure you’re onboarding the best talent?

“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” 
~Steve Jobs

6 Attributes of a Top Candidate (That You Won’t Find In Their Resume)

  1. Preparation and Organization: Applicants who come to the interview prepared to answer questions about the company have done their homework.  This is the first sign you should look for.  If they haven’t bothered to research and understand the company ahead of time, how well will they prepare for work each day?  When asked, “Why are you interested in our company?”  They should clearly articulate why they want to work for the company and be able to support their answer using the knowledge, facts, and data they uncovered during their research.  The ability to do this reflects a level of preparation and organization that will help them succeed in the job.  They should also come with examples of their work (if applicable), copies of their resume, and a list of questions that have prepared for the interview.
  2. Fits the Company Culture/Accentuates Team Dynamics: As a business leader, you know the company culture inside and out and it’s your goal as the hiring manager to bring on other associates who reflect the company’s core values.  This sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many leaders miss the mark on this and hire associates with the necessary skills but who lacked the ability to assimilate into the company’s culture.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen this lead to higher attrition as those associates usually leave the company within the first two years.  To avoid this recruiting pitfall, talk about the company’s culture during the interview process and ask applicants how they can integrate these core values into their daily work.  Their answers will help you determine if they are a good fit and if their personality will accentuate the team dynamics.  Successful teams bring a diverse set of skills, strengths, weaknesses, and personality types; however, you don’t want one personality to dominate over the rest.
  3. Knows Their Strengths and Weaknesses: During the interview process, I always ask candidates to share some of their strengths and weaknesses.  Their ability to answer this means they are self-aware and understand that they have room to grow and develop. Candidates who struggle to answer this either do not spend enough time in self-reflection or haven’t taken previous feedback to heart and will most likely struggle with personal assessment in the future.
  4. High Potential vs. Already An Expert: From my experience leading high-performance teams, I’ve found that hiring candidates with high potential over ones who are already experts pays off in the long run.  Candidates who are dedicated, internally motivated, highly accountable and who express a desire and passion for excelling in an area will often work harder because they are truly challenged in their role.  They will often take more calculated risks and think more “outside the box” than someone who already thinks he/she knows the best way of doing something. Growth happens where there is room to grow, so place a higher value on potential and competence over expertise.
  5. Excellent Communication and Networking Skills: Great communicators with a large network are powerful influencers and get things done quickly and efficiently.  They successfully pitch and sell ideas and motivate followers to action.  Ask questions to determine the strength of a candidate’s verbal and written communication skills and look at their social networking profiles to get a sense of their sphere of influence.  If both are exceptional, they will help you move mountains.
  6. Highly Collaborative Nature: In today’s matrix business world, there’s very little that can be accomplished solo.  Building relationships is vitally important.  Candidates who are strong collaborators will excel in accomplishing projects and tasks that require integration with other teams and stakeholders.  If they can’t play well in the sandbox with others, it’s time to move on.  Ask questions that will help you determine how well they collaborate with others.

“The smartest business decision you can make is to hire qualified people. Bringing the right people on board saves you thousands, and your business will run smoothly and efficiently.”  ~Brian Tracy

Many of the leadership roles in my career involved starting up new areas of the business which meant building out teams.  This was a great fit for me because I’m passionate about hiring, leading and developing people.  I attribute my career success to the great folks I hired over the years. Seeing them grow professionally and get promoted was one of the most personally rewarding parts of my job.  As your business grows, focus on bringing the best talent and they will go above and beyond to help achieve your company’s vision and goals.  Here’s a list of the top 120 interview questions for employers to help you hire the cream of the crop.

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  1. […] Immersion. With mergers and acquisitions or rapid growth that require you to hire external talent, you are bringing a new group of people into a well-established culture; however, these new […]

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