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Recruit for the Right Stuff

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 30, 2009

I have spent the last five years trying to convince some clients, in ways both direct and indirect, that they are going about staff recruitment backwards. Companies should never hire people who do not possess qualities that the company does not plan on teaching to them.

If a company does not plan on teaching morality (or ethical behavior, if you like) to employees, then morality should be sought in candidates. If the company is not in the business of teaching its staff to solve problems intellectually/rationally, this quality should be pursued in candidates. Etc.

If you are hiring for success, for most positions the following two requirements should be the first listed on the solicitation.

  • Personal character and integrity, matched with self-motivation and a good work ethic.
  • Strong intellectual ability, including the ability to assimilate and quickly represent a high volume of information.  This should include attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.

Following the first rounds of candidate screening, the interview process should include the following key elements:

  • Elaboration on ethical standards as applied in life and business situations
  • Approach to learning (mode of learning; willingness to learn)
  • Leadership attributes (self-leadership; leadership of others)

In addition, in the interview I like to ask each candidate to state his/her greatest professional strength and weakness. The answers received are very revealing.

The Catholic In Business (CIB) can influence the cultural direction of his company, if in a position of influence, by modifying the staff recruitment approach to lead with the above foundational elements.

Another point for the CIB: Companies are people. The cost of a "bad hire" can easily exceed the cost of an extremely thorough recruitment process. There is a very strong argument to be made on a cost-offset or return on investment (ROI) basis for taking the time and trouble to perform recruitment in the right way. This allows you to make the case for better recruitment policies without leading with a moral argument.

Though recruitment isn't specifically listed on my company's website, it is a part (indeed, one of the most important parts) of strategic business development--for organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. I do consult with companies on strategic emphasis in recruitment, which encompasses all aspects of the process--beginning with identifying hiring priorities. So, don't hesitate to contact me through http://www.trincon.net/contact with questions.

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  • Posted by: scottv5274 - Nov. 10, 2009 8:17 PM ET USA

    Excellent prioritization of requirements! I'm interviewing for a job right now. I'm going to highlight examples that indicate I meet the first two requirements you mentioned. God bless!

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