Every employer understands how important it is to hire great people. Unfortunately, not all of us have a great plan for doing so.


Let me ask you, “What is your strategy for hiring great employees beyond the standard approach of posting job openings, collecting resumes, conducting interviews and calling references?”


In this series of articles, I am suggesting a simple grid of three important priorities for building great teams one hire at a time. When hiring new employees, consider their qualifications through the following grid. It’s a trustworthy equation for hiring great people.


·         CHARACTER – moral compass

·         COMPETENCY – professional aptitude

·         CHEMISTRY – personal compatibility



In the first article of this series on hiring, we looked at the importance of Character. The moral character of an employee has a profoundly influence on their professional conduct. When a person settles into the routines of their new job after “the dating game” of the hiring process, their true colors will start to show up at the office each day in numerous ways. That behavior will either help our hurt the corporate culture and public reputation of your company.


First, I recommend you hire people of character! You’ll rarely regret it.


Now let’s turn our attention to the second hiring priority, Competency.


What employer doesn’t want a team of competent people? It’s a no-brainer that business owners want to hire great people who can “do the job.”


Unfortunately when it comes to competency, most employers make the mistake of limiting their criteria to a person’s knowledge and skills. Employers scan resumes looking for the evidence that an applicant has the education, the training and the experience to do the job they need done. However, competency is more than just experience, knowledge and expertise. While each of these are necessary to doing a job right, they are not the only qualifications for determining if a person is right for that job.


Competency require a proficiency in at least three important areas.


1.    Capability – the ability to understand and perform the job.

2.    Discipline – the ability to manage oneself as a professional.

3.    Diplomacy – the ability to interface with others professionally.


Maybe you’ve had a physician who had a terrible “bedside manner.” She might have been a medical genius when it comes to knowledge and skill (aptitude), but when it came to her professional presence (diplomacy) she came across as inconsiderate or uncaring.  Or how about a service technician who could repair a broken appliance (aptitude) with his eyes closed, but his unprofessional work habits (discipline) left you feeling disappointed with your service experience.




Because there’s more to competency than just knowledge and skill!


Employers need to think through everything related to a particular position beyond just having the smartest doing the job.


Beyond smarts and skills, what other competencies are required for the position you are hiring?  The answers to this question ought to become the essence of the job description posted with your search. That same list of competencies should also guide what questions you ask in the interview process and reference checks.


One critical aspect of competency is capacity. Capacity is about whether or not a person has the personal and professional bandwidth to handle the job you need them to do. Many people may possess the education, training and skills to perform a particular job. However, not all of them may have the capacity to do the job you need them to do.


Capacity is often tested in three ways.


1.    Pace: Some people just can’t keep up with the speed of a job.


A very talented physician who performs well in the day-to-day routines of general practice just might not be able to cut it in the fast-paced environment of an emergency room.


2.    Scope: Some people just can’t stay on top of all that comes with a job.


A salesperson may be a genius when it comes to cultivating relationships with customers. However, keeping up with the numerous administrative and logistical details of all the accounts he is responsible to manage just might more than he can handle.


3.    Understanding: Some people just can’t comprehend the complexities of a job or the larger organization it serves.


We often see this tension in the gap that exists between executives and employees. While some of the workers on the assembly line are often tempted to think they could run the company better than those in management, their place on the corporate ladder does not afford them a perspective on ALL that comes with keeping the ship pointed in the right direction. Simply promoting a laborer to management could reveal a drastic inability to negotiate all the ins and outs of leadership. They just might not be able to make the leap from the assembly line to the corporate office due to a lack of dexterity in negotiating the multiple layers of organizational life. That is an issue of capacity,


4.    Relationships: Some people just can’t manage all of the interpersonal dynamics of a job. 


If you put the best technician from your Information Technology department in management, you might quickly discover that she just doesn’t have the same magic touch with relationships that she has with computers.


Hiring people with the capacity to do the job you need done is crucial to your team’s success. The employee who lacks the capacity for the job they have been given will, in time, either explode or implode under the stress of their responsibilities. This self-destruction looks like a bad attitude, an inability to get along with others, overlooked details and missed deadlines. All of which will ultimately sabotage your company’s productivity.


It is very important that you define all of the unique competencies that a certain position requires and then hire accordingly. For instance, if you need a technician who is great with customers, you need to define that as an expectation and then hire a person with those competencies. Whatever you do, don’t insist that a technical genius be good at both repairs and relationships if he, by nature, is not much of a people-person.


As we have all learned somewhere along the way, the true nature of a person’s competency is best discerned prior to their hire rather than afterwards. If you go into the hiring process with an eye out for something bigger than smarts and skills, you’re more likely to find people with the discipline and diplomacy you need in talented teammates with whom to build an outstanding company.