By Tyler Bray, CEO, owner and founder of The Trailer Parts Outlet.
Many job descriptions amount to little more than a set of clichés about a “fast-paced environment” or “highly competitive culture” followed by a bullet list of required skills. But I have found that my most successful hires are actually oriented around other traits. Basically, as a business leader, I see it as my job to manage the energy and culture of my team very carefully. Every hire I make is either going to add to or subtract from that energy.
I’ve created a strategy to create better long-term results with the people I hire. While I admit that these traits are less quantifiable than some would like, I do believe that you get the best results when you look for them. I’ll even include my preferred strategy of how to actually determine if a candidate has these traits, and a story of a time I used this strategy.
Remember, you can teach someone any skill they need to know. The traits I’m about to describe fall into the category of “you have it or you don’t.”
Hire based on these traits for long-term success:
• Worth Ethic
You need people who are self-starters. If someone needs constant guidance, that’s OK, but only at first. As a leader, you need to build a team with a “point and shoot” dynamic. You point, they shoot and everyone wins.
Nothing prevents burnout like passion. As I said earlier, this is one of the intangibles. You have to detect it with your instincts rather than a fill-in-the-bubble questionnaire.
I’ve published entire articles about alignment, so I’ll make it as simple as I can this time. You figure out how to take the fuel of what your teammate wants, and you funnel it into your business so that both the teammate and the business win together. Someone wants more freedom? Money? New skills? Your business needs those things, too. Align those aims for best results.
• Cultural Compatibility
Again, hard to quantify. Think of your candidate in the context of everyone else on the team, rather than as an isolated figure. That should make your decision clear.
• Happiness—They Want To Be Here
We’re all realizing how much of our lives we spend on work. Happiness is so important when you consider that.
How To Determine If Your Candidate Has The Right Traits
I have taken to asking my people to write a one-page essay describing their dream job. I tell them to give as much life and color to that vision as possible. I had one candidate who I hired as an assistant. When she wrote her essay, she described building out her own clothing brand. In fact, the essay was so clarifying for her that she actually parted ways and went to go live it. How did I feel about that? Absolutely delighted. Because I know a more aligned candidate is out there, and I truly enjoy seeing people live the life of their dreams or at least take an honest shot at it.
In summary, ask your candidates what they want. If they want apples, offer apples, not oranges. If you can only offer oranges, don’t try to fit the wrong key into the lock. Find people who love oranges. Your business will benefit from momentum with less turnover and better cultural cohesion. Happy employees simply work more effectively and share their happiness with your customers.