What is considered to be a good hire?

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Selecting a new employee with the hope that they’ll make a good hire can be difficult for hiring managers. Typically, you are unaware if the decision made was the right one until months after the position has been filled. The first thing to consider throughout the interview process is – does this person have the potential to stay long term and what does their growth potential look like?

As a hiring manager, you want to invest in the right person who will take your company from point A to point B. Someone who will add value to the team long term. Below we will look at several things to consider and evaluate when deciding what makes good hire.

Let’s look at this scenario:

Bob is a software developer who just recently put in his two weeks’ notice. The company is scrambling trying to backfill his position. Ideally, the company would like to find a replacement and bring up to speed by the time Bob leaves. The hiring manager interviews candidates and is left with the final two candidates:

  • Candidate A checks all the boxes in terms of the job skills and specific requirements for the position. However, this person seems to have an overbearing attitude. This characteristic induces worry. The concern is that this candidate might not best the best fit for the team.
  • Candidate B has less experience and lacks some of the requirements needed to fill the position. This candidate has a positive attitude and is eager to learn. Given the opportunity, this candidate will put in the extra hours to get up to speed and will be a good fit for the team.

Who would you choose?

Interviewing candidates and reviewing resumes is time consuming, but the biggest frustration of the hiring process is the new employee onboarding. Training people and getting them up to speed with your company’s processes takes a lot of time. Even with very talented and highly qualified people, the on-boarding process will never happen overnight. Depending on the complexity of the position at hand, it can take your new employee months (if not a solid year), to reach full productivity.

Investing time, effort, and resources into training someone who isn’t going to excel or stick around is an extremely frustrating situation. The last thing you want to do is have to start it all over again.

In this case, Candidate B will likely be the better fit even though additional training and time will have to be invested. It is worth nothing that the best candidates are typically those that embody traits that cannot be taught. Characteristics and personality traits such as work-ethic, determination, positive, reliability, and self-awareness go a long way.

Now, we discuss other qualities to look for when hiring the right staff.

1. Is this person a team player?

In many situations, employees will need to collaborate with their coworkers on certain projects. Even if a job requires most tasks to be completed alone, there will be times when everyone must work together. Therefore, when interviewing candidates about teamwork, here are the most common question that comes up in an interview:

  • “How do you work in a team?”
  • What makes a team function successfully?
  • “Tell me about a time when you have worked on a team with a difficult coworker. How did you handle it?”
  • Share an example of a team project that failed.

Think about your current interview process. Does the candidate interview with other members of the team that they will be working with directly? If the answer is no, then consider putting an interview panel together.

2. Does this person do what they say they can do?

Some hiring managers may have potential new hires complete a project or ask them to demonstrate their skills. This is especially common with software engineers and developers. An employer will give them a coding question, have them work through it and explain it as they go. This leads us to the problem-solving component of the interview.

  • How do they approach the problem at hand?
  • How did they react?
  • Did they use good reasoning and judgement to solve the issue?

Ultimately, candidates who keep their composure while demonstrating these skills typically work well under pressure. They are likely to succeed on a team and can think on their feet. Employers want to see candidates can handle situations promptly.

3. Is the candidate the right fit?

Looking for the right fit can be categorized in two different ways:

  • First, do they have the foundational knowledge and skill capacity to perform the job successfully?
  • Second, are they going to embrace the company culture?

Employees who feel valued and successful will typically stick with the company long term. Employers often look for candidates who will fit the company’s culture and vice versa. Furthermore, employers want employees to feel value and candidates want to see that they are adding value to the organization.

4. Longevity and Ambition

Resumes that indicate that a candidate has hopped jobs might signal a red flag. However, there may be justifiable reasons behind it. It is important to ask questions that fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, prior work history often shows future performance. Here are a few things to consider when interviewing a potential new employee:

  • How long have they been at their previous positions?
  • Did they have long tenure or was it short lived? For experienced professionals, did they follow a manager to a different company or get rehired?
  • Did they leave on good terms?

5. First Impressions

Now that we have addressed some of the key indicators and characteristics that constitute what makes a “good hire”, let us talk about first impressions and how to set the right tone. A candidates actions can create lasting impressions during those all-important first encounters. Some of the commonsense things to look for are professional attire and punctuality.

  • Did they arrive on time?
  • The same rules apply to the interviewer. Are you setting a tone that reflects the true nature of the organization?  

All in all, a good hire is someone who follows through with their commitments. They are passionate and go above and beyond. A good hire is an individual that will continue to add value to your organization’s culture. In addition, they are optimistic and care about the well being of those around them.

For more articles about hiring, interviewing and more, check out the employer blog!