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Hiring the Right People

By: Bill Hogg


One of the critical success factors for developing a high performing work environment is hiring the right people. I believe that involves looking at 2 key areas when hiring: competence and character.

Competence is the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job. Either they have these skills already, or you believe that with the correct training, they have the potential to learn to do the job well. This is often what most interviews and most training is geared towards.
However, even more important than competence is character. You should be looking for people who can get on board with your vision. People who get excited about your company vision and values—who love working with and looking after customers.
I recall a story about the great Ritz Carlton hotel chain. Whenever they interviewed someone for any aspect of their business, they shared a meal with the prospect and accidentally dropped a napkin while eating. They were looking to see if the person naturally reached to pick the napkin up.
The purpose of this little test was to see whether “helping” was a natural characteristic or one that was just on display for the interview.
Of course this was just one method of digging in to find their character. They had many other techniques. But the real lesson here is that they clearly understood the kind of character they were looking for in their organization, and had specific elements within their hiring process to unearth these characteristic.
If you have to chose between competence and character—choose character every time.
My Perspective:  Experience indicates that if you have to chose between competence and character, choose character every time. If you have the right person, you can always train for competence. it is almost impossible to change a persons character.
The best examples of this is the legion of stories of people who started at the bottom of the organization and who rose through the ranks to become a senior executive. These are always people who had the right character, just not yet the right competence.
So ask yourself, does your hiring process have elements built in that delve into the character of the potential employee to ensure that their character aligns with the results you want. If not, shouldn’t it?
This article was originally published by Bill Hogg
Published: March 3, 2015

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Bill Hogg

Bill works with senior leaders to stimulate change – that excelerates passion, productivity and profits! For over 30 years, Bill has been the go to guy when the world’s most recognized brands are faced with challenges that require change -- to improve bottom line results. Bill takes no prisoners, and his clients love him for it! For additional articles and information on how to transform your organization visit us online at www.billhogg.ca

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