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3 Most Important Criteria When Hiring3 Most Important Criteria When Hiring

Bringing someone into your organization is perhaps one of the most important business decisions you will make. Every employee is an extension of your brand and how they represent your company reflects your company.

Elliot Markowitz

June 25, 2014

4 Min Read
3 Most Important Criteria When Hiring

Bringing someone into your organization is perhaps one of the most important business decisions you will make. Every employee is an extension of your brand and how they represent your company reflects your company.

This is exacerbated in the brave new world of social media as people’s professional and personal lives continue to blur. There is no place to “hide” an employee anymore. A quick Google, Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter search can reveal a lot of information about an individual. And now most professionals before meetings will do just that—search online for information about the person they are about to meet. Sometimes they do it just to put a name to a face, but more often than not they get much more information—hobbies, entertainment likes and dislikes, work and personal associates, political and religious affiliations and so on. And while you cannot discriminate against people for their age, race, religion or sexual preference, you need to be discerning when it comes to their behavior and how they represent themselves and then make the decision whether it’s appropriate for your business.

The point is, every person in your organization represents your organization, and information about that individual can usually be easily acquired.

So what is a prospective employee to do? First and foremost, companies should establish and enforce strict guidelines about what their employees communicate about their professional lives over social media. You can’t, and never should, control their personal lives, but how they represent themselves—and, in turn, your organization—is certainly a concern. While you want the most qualified person available, you don’t want someone who will misrepresent your organization and its values.

The point here is, hiring the right person is more important than ever. Here are the three main criteria for making a hiring decision.

  1. Capabilities: Of course, any prospective employee must have the ability and qualifications to do the job you are hiring that person to do. Being nice or helping a friend of a friend will do you no good in this department. This should go beyond Ivy League college degrees. What hands-on, actual experience does this person have? What has this person been educated and trained to do? And since every organization is different, you need to consider the learning curve that is involved.

  2. Value: You also need to look at what value the individual brings to the organization. There are two ways of doing this. First, what is the salary or investment you are willing to make into this person? Are you getting the most expertise for your dollar? Bringing someone aboard at a fair salary is crucial. If you are trying to get someone on the cheap just because he or she is looking for a job, that person will end up leaving as soon as a better offer comes along. Pay people what their jobs are worth.
    Also, look at their future potential and network. Do they have expertise in other areas where your company is looking to grow? Do they have an impressive network of individuals and contacts you can tap into in the future? All of these factors play into the value equation and go well beyond current salary.

  3. Cultural Fit: Finally, there needs to be a cultural fit. This has become even more important these days. A disruptive employee can cause tremendous damage both to morale inside the organization and to customer relationships. The culture you establish will dictate who will fit in and thrive. If you allow your employees to wear jeans and t-shirts to the office and one guy shows up in a suit and tie every day, he could end up causing friction. If you foster teamwork and collaboration and your candidate is more of a lone wolf who likes to work on his own, there could be friction.
    People spend a lot of hours in their work environment. If that environment is threatening or uncomfortable, you will lose good employees. You can find out a lot about a person through the interview process and through their social channels.

Hiring the right people is one of the most important decisions an organization makes, especially small businesses. Use every tool at your disposal to make sure the person you are bringing in truly will be an asset and not a liability.

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About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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