Your Turn: What’s the Secret to Hiring for the Long Term?

Back in March, we started a “Your Turn” series, where I ask all of you to answer a question. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed hearing from so many of you and the conversations that it sparked. From time to time, I will pose a question to this community and very much look forward to your thoughts. Here is our second in the series.

I recently came across an article from NSC Technologies Worldwide, a global staffing company, which focuses on the top qualities to look for in job candidates. The article presents an interesting approach to recruiting and suggests placing more emphasis on “attitude” than “smarts.” While both can be important, one is easier to teach than the other. You can always train someone to get “smart” on a skill or topic; attitude is something innate. That said, hiring based on attitude requires a specific kind of search. According to the article, hiring with an eye toward attitude means leaders should be on the lookout for four main qualities: coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.

I was drawn to the article because in many ways, I couldn’t agree more. But I would love to hear from all of you. The most critical asset of an organization is the employee. Recruiting is tough, and a bad choice can be expensive. What is the most important thing you look for when recruiting a new hire – and have you noticed a difference in employee retention as a result?

I’ll go first. The most important traits that I look for in a candidate are attitude and problem-solving ability. I find if you can hire individuals with a positive and energetic attitude, you will employ flexible teammates who are open to change and focused on the broader success of the business and what it takes to achieve it. When you couple a positive, determined attitude with innate problem-solving skills, you get someone who will be less frustrated by the inevitable hurdles that are sure to arise. In my experience, these employees will often stick with you as their leader, and the company as their employer, while working together to overcome issues and keep the team and the business moving forward.

Now it’s your turn. What has worked for you?