Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us
As an employer, hiring is one of the most important leadership decisions you will make. Your organization is only as strong as the people who comprise it; hiring the best is critical to your team’s success. Is the candidate trained for the job offering? Does the candidate have the requisite experience for the position? These types of questions are important to ask, but are not the most important questions to ask. Many tasks and functions can be trained on the job; intrinsic qualities, however, are much more difficult to cultivate and should be sought for when hiring.

It is more important to inquire into the character of a candidate and his or her potential for good alignment in the position. Employees with the right intrinsic qualities who are well-aligned quickly learn tasks and add value to the organization long term.  Poor alignment, on the other hand, often produces heartache with both parties. Asking the following questions of your candidates, can help ensure you make the best possible hiring decision: 

Four Things I Want to Know About Every Job Candidate

Does the candidate want this particular job? Job seekers who are looking for a job, any job, achieve alignment in their employment only on accident, not by design. For you as an employer, the passion that these job seekers bring to the organization will be hit and miss. Instead of hiring someone who is merely qualified, find out if they are actually interested in doing the job you are advertising. Does it light their fire or does it only provide a pay check? Hire the candidate who really wants to do the tasks; you both will be happier long term.

Does the candidate want to work for your company? Each company will have its own set of values, vision and direction. Not every candidate will share those values or vision. In the long run, employees who are out of alignment with the vision and alignment of the organization will be less productive, less passionate, and less happy. During the hiring process is the best time to find out whether or not alignment exists between the organization’s values and those of the job seeker. One useful indicator is whether the candidate knows much about the company. Are they applying for “any ‘ole job” or are they seeking to work for your company because they have researched the options and picked you?

Have they prepared for the job? The candidate’s level of preparation for the job (and the interview) can help you gauge how they will treat their responsibilities in the job once landed. Are they coming to the interview with the right credentialing and experience? Are they prepared to perform well in the interview? Evidence to the contrary are strong signals that this is not the right person to hire. If they don’t take job seeking seriously, they will hardly treat the job seriously.

Are they self-developing? Market conditions change, and with those changes, companies must evolve in order to remain relevant. This means that your company’s tasks and associated expertise sets must constantly evolve. If you are to avoid situations of forced turnover, you need a workforce who is evolving with the market. Does the job seeker’s resume indicate a commitment to self-improvement, or was the last significant educational milestone stale from years ago? Inquire deeply into the self-improvement behaviors of your candidates. It doesn’t matter if the training perfectly matches the job offering; what matters is that there are indicators the candidate has constantly sought to improve and build his or her human capital over time. This type of employee will likely evolve with your company and add value long term.

Make Time for Building Social Capital  

Cost Sharing Training

Four Fundamentals of Employment Alignment

Products and Services

Hiring talent is important, but hiring for alignment and character is critical. Use the hiring process to inquire whether the candidate has alignment with the job and company. Discover whether they are truly prepared for the job and ensure they are the type of person who is constantly self-developing. Hiring well-aligned candidates who want to grow with you will make your organization thrive and achieve your vision!

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.