Friday, June 5, 2009

10 Qualities of a Great Job Candidate

I've had the opportunity to interview several strong candidates (and some weak one's) over the past few months for various positions at our company- here are 10 qualities and actions that have stood out to me:

  • Quality follow-up response: When someone takes notes during our discussions and follows the interview with a quality recap of what we talked about with a few value added nuggets for our company- it's rare and refreshing. A follow-up "thank you note" is one thing, taking the extra time to address something we talked about... better.
  • They've done their homework: A few people have stood out simply by answering the question, "So, what do you know about Pinnacle?" They studied our website, talked to a few clients, employees, or asked around about our reputation...
  • Positively Persistent: The best ones have followed up on a regular, positive basis- many times continuing our discussion with value added articles, events of interest, attended our events, and seem to continue to learn about our company.
  • A Moving Car: Mark Beeson has always said, "It's easier to do something with a moving car than a parked car" meaning... if someone has energy, is self motivated, and action oriented- attractive. Philosophers and sages of wisdom that don't do anything- not so much...
  • Genuine Character: When I know someone has integrity, it matters. A few indicators that scare me off: "It's all about me" attitude, bashing previous employer, a sense they're working too hard to tell me what I want to hear, or overly complimentary.
  • Demonstrated Leadership: If I feel like we can't find the "perfect fit" of skills and/or experience, I'll hire a leader. People that can make a decision, accept responsibility, will do the heavy lifting, and can drive initiatives. They may not have all the "technical" answers, but they're confident and competent enough to navigate their way to effectiveness.
  • Self-Assured: Those who are comfortable in their own shoes, can talk freely of who they are, who they're not, without apology= you're in the top half of all candidates. Don't be desperate, directionless, or tentative.
  • Lifetime Learners: The best are pressing in, reading, and have appetites for learning. While they're seeking, it's clear they're filling their time with positive, building activities. It makes me think they'll "dive in" when we hire them and will be able to learn what they don't know...
  • They Welcome Feedback: One person mentioned they have 2 or 3 strategic people in their lives to give them input on what their next steps should be, another thanked me for a few concerns addressed... we don't have time for games, we need a team that's real and can sharpen each other.... Defensiveness and excuses are normal. Superstars seek out editors in their life.
  • They Admit What They Don't Know: New team members are going to encounter too much "new" as it is... the last thing we need are people trying to "fake" their way through waters they've never navigated without asking questions. It's OK to admit what you don't know in an interview in my book.

We've got some great people and great days ahead as we build our team... What qualities would you add?

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Can I add an Amen to "It's OK to admit what you don't know in an interview in my book."

I've never wanted to manage people (I'm happy being a tech head) but in a prior role ended up with 7 staff to supervise. I always asked them annually to name one weakness they want to improve in the coming year. Amazingly several of them couldn't or didn't want to anwser as it would put them in a bad light.

I approach life, love and my job with the belief that the day I don't think I have anything to "fix" then I may as well not be here.