Values-Based Hiring: It’s About More than Your Skills

As an organization that serves clients nationwide in extremely varied industries and sectors, one thing we know to be true is that hiring the right employees, although it can be incredibly challenging, is also integral to the success of any business.

Most of us have heard the expression “one bad apple can spoil the bunch.” Even John C. Maxwell in his book The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork addresses this topic in his “Law of the Bad Apple.” And just as we’ve heard it, most of us also know this to be true – not just in theory, but through our experiences in organizations, businesses, community groups and even our social circles.

A bad attitude is contagious. If one employee, even out of a group of 25 or more, has a poor attitude or a negative outlook, he or she is going to spread that “poison” throughout the organization and sour the attitude of even your star employees. Although high-performers will resist at first, after time, the negativity is sure to wear off on them as well. So what’s a manager to do?

Many factors that go in to what makes a “good employee”. Most jobs and roles require a certain skillset based on education, technical capabilities, and past experience. But as mentioned in the title of this blog, these things are not all that matters. If you hire based solely on a checklist of technical and/or educational requirements – there is a very good chance you will be “underwhelmed” once that team member comes onboard.

Now it’s your job, the hiring manager, leader or potential co-worker to look beyond the basic requirements and see the person. After all, isn’t that why most companies conduct a series of interviews? Every interaction with a potential new hire is an opportunity to find out what is important to them. How do they respond to difficult questions? What is their opinion of their previous employer? What challenges have they faced and how have they overcome them? If you are a customer-centric organization, are they service-oriented or others-minded in their answers?

Attitude and character traits are also important in deciding if someone will be successful in your organization. Do they fit into the culture? If you’re a fast-paced, innovative company, do they seem to like this type of energy? Are they hungry for knowledge, determined and driven? Are they willing to learn?

Positive attitude, optimism, determination, desire to learn, and work ethic are all desirable attributes. So, what if the person you’d like to hire doesn’t have a required skill like QuickBooks or a degree in the desired field? My advice to you: don’t rule them out!

Although it can be relatively easy to hire a new employee, oftentimes it can be extremely complicated to remove that individual from your organization. It hurts team morale, can cause distrust or fear among those who remain, and sometimes it can even lead to litigation. So, when you need to find a replacement “yesterday,” take a step back and remember how essential it is to be patient. Realize that this could stretch your remaining team member short term, but choosing correctly will always pay off in the long run.

Overall remember this: you can teach someone an industry, software, or how to perform specific tasks like running a payroll, managing website content, troubleshooting your systems, or even advising clients on financial decisions. What you CANNOT teach are fundamental personality traits like loyalty, hard work, positivity, and determination.

At QBS, we have an incredible team of employees with various backgrounds and experiences – bringing us incredible value through different perspectives. Our advice to you is that when it’s time to hire that next employee, if there’s even one thing that seems awry in terms of attitude, or you foresee potential personality conflicts between a candidate and your current employee team, you must look elsewhere.

Hire smart. Hire for attitude. Hire based on values.