Interviews, when conducted properly, can really help determine many different aspects of someone’s personality. When the focus is shifted from having an “interview” to having an interaction, people loosen up and display more of themselves. Through interactions, you can find out more about a candidate and what they're really like.
Beyond candidates' technical skills and ability to do the job, you should also consider their personality and social skills as well. Who they are as a person will ultimately affect the culture of the company and your business as a whole. One of the most important things to assess is their character.
Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab recently interviewed with Adam Bryant of the New York Times and mentioned that when it comes to hiring, sometimes he likes to invite candidates to breakfast and secretly ask the waiting staff to mess up their order.
When asked why he responded with: “I do that because I want to see how the person responds. That will help me understand how they deal with adversity. Are they upset, are they frustrated or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that. It’s just another way to get a look inside their heart rather than their head.”
Not everyone should go around asking the wait staff to mess up orders, but the concept is something companies should adopt. You might wonder why looking inside of their heart is an important thing to consider. Aside from the obvious, that you want to work with good people, check out why Mark Tercek, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy hires with the heart in mind. Most companies don’t have the same business model as Nature Conservatory and don’t place a focus on hiring people that are courageous and willing to do good for the world, but there are many reasons why focusing on hiring employees with good character can greatly benefit your business.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching” - C.S. Lewis
It’s important to hire people with integrity even if you’re not an industry that requires it like Finance. Having integrity doesn’t always have to be associated with corruption. Integrity can also mean following through with something. It means choosing thoughts and values not based on personal gain. This characteristic is the most important an employee can have because you know that you can count on them to do the work they set out to do and not just follow rules, but adopt regulations, values and other missions that your organization holds dear.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Martin Luther King Jr.
A person who wants to make sure they do their work correctly and thoroughly can be referred to as conscientious. Conscientious people are usually down to earth and always feel they can be doing something better. This is a great character trait to have since we live in a fast-paced, constantly changing society. People that are thorough are less likely to make mistakes and usually prevent mounds of problems from arising. This study suggests that conscientious people are usually the most successful.
“The mind is like a parachute - it doesn’t work unless it’s open” - Frank Zapa
Openness is an incredibly important character trait to have. Being open to new experiences, to change and to new people can only better your life as well as your working environment. Adopting this trait can lead to much success no matter the circumstance or situation. Open people usually work better with others and easily adapt to any situation they need to. They can also be more successful because they are not stuck in their ways. It’s hard to tell if a person is open to new experiences in an interview setting. Open doesn’t necessarily mean someone who loves to talk and tells you their whole life story. You may think you are hiring an open person, but not really.
These traits are critical for employees to have at any organization and the best way to determine if someone has them is to observe them in a natural setting.
Learn more about how you can determine what character your employees have before you hire them here