Who are the Best Hires?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Hiring is one of the most important activities an organization will undertake. In the future, it will only become more important. Today, here in our community, there is a severe talent shortage. For the first time in 50 years, there are more job openings than people looking for jobs. Critical skills are in even shorter supply. Making good hires is the key to building the team you need to thrive. But, who are these people?

I have been a part of the hiring process as a leader for over two decades. I have witnessed hundreds of companies’ hiring practices. In the end, the results of a good process and the best hire are vital to success. What are the characteristics of successful employees? I call it the three “I”s – intelligence (skills), initiative, and integrity. Without all three, in my opinion, the candidate will not be a successful hire.

When I’m hiring, the minimum requirement to be considered is that the individual has the skills and aptitude required for the position within the context of the organization. This allows for individual and team efforts to be successful. I cannot proceed with a candidate who does not meet this requirement.

Next, we all need team members who take the initiative. They must have the energy and will to take on the tough assignments – and persevere. They need to be self-starters. This is a learned trait and can best be judged by what they have done in past work or experiences. I use references to help me evaluate the level of initiative each candidate has. If a candidate has this, they can often learn so many of the skills needed for success. Without this trait, they may not have what it takes to evolve and grow as the business changes and grows.

The final, and deal breaker, for great hires is integrity. Integrity is the glue that holds the whole thing together. In a high-risk and fast-paced world, no organization can thrive without individuals and teams who value and protect the integrity of themselves and the organization. In fact, a very smart, hard-working teammate that cannot be trusted may lead to disaster within the organization.

As a leader, what are your rules for great hires? What characteristics do you insist are needed to help the organization thrive? Getting the right people on your team has never been more essential than now. I know it has been one of the most critical things I have done as a leader of an organization. I believe it has never been more important than now.