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How to Spot a Winning Employee and Hire Smart

Hiring is one of the most important things a professional will do. People are the lifeblood of any organization, so it’s imperative that each person a company adds to its team is a good fit for the organizational culture.

Learning to spot the right person during the course of the hiring process is a skill that is usually learned over time. But with the help of experienced professionals, many hiring managers can get a head start on that learning process. Here are a few tips that can help you pinpoint a good candidate quickly.

Learn to Spot Potential

One major mistake hiring managers make is in focusing so intently on past experience that they lose sight of what's really important. A marketing director with a full marketing resume that has no experience in the auto industry may be able to learn the ins and outs of car dealerships. A software developer with one OO langauge, if smart can learn a new language within weeks or at most a couple of months. It's important to determine which job requirements can be learned and which can't. Even an inexperienced but enthusiastic candidate may have an aptitude for those skills most essential to the job in question.

Look for Team Players

All too often, businesses don't realize an employee isn't a team player until he's already part of the team. There are techniques for spotting egocentric employees during the interview process. One such technique is to watch the way interviewees treat staff members who aren't upper-level executives. If a candidate speaks down to receptionists, HR staff, or prospective team members, that should send up a few red flags for interviewers.

Listen Closely to Past Experience

One way to predict how a candidate will behave as an employee is to get a glimpse into that employee's past. This is often done through behavioral questions. Each of these questions should ask a candidate to recall a time in the past when they were faced with a particular challenge and describe how they handled it. If possible, include a member of your HR team in the interviews to get an expert opinion on the candidate's answers.

While hiring can be a complex process, by taking the time to measure each candidate's suitability for an organization's culture, a hiring manager can stock his team with the best employees possible.


Philip Foti, CEO Sonata Talent, Inc / Summit Allen