Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

With the job market gradually coming back after a difficult pandemic, smart hiring is at the forefront.  As a manager, you can’t do everything yourself, and you shouldn’t try.   Managers must be able to depend on their teams. 

Most companies don’t have the luxury of unlimited hiring, nor do they have the time or budget to keep hiring and training employees until they find the right fit.  Effective interviewing can prevent dealing with a bad hire and the work disruptions that can result.  Because managers are often thrust into quick hiring decisions, they need to develop a sixth sense for red flags and warning signs.

Looking beyond the resume is just the start.  Qualified candidates might fit right in, or there might be personality concerns that would override their credentials.  Pay attention to those indicators.  Remember, you and the rest of your staff will be spending a lot of waking hours with the new person.  Don’t put either group in a no-win situation.

Finding the right job candidates requires more than just likeability.  Great hiring starts with looking for these traits:

  • Honest.  Honesty, ethics, integrity, values and morals – all mean the same thing.  They all convey the single attribute that determines whether a person or an organization can be trusted. 
  • Reliability.  You want people who will always show up and always do their best.  Taking a chance on a superstar who may or may not be productive all the time is a big risk to take.
  • Communication skills.  Look for team members who aren’t afraid to speak up and who know how to express themselves clearly.
  • Attentive listening.  Communication goes both ways.  Every team needs members who are willing to wait their turn and listen to other points of view.
  • Cooperation.  Emphasize that you need your employees to pitch in and support their teammates whenever necessary, not just do their own jobs and ignore the challenges around them.
  • Loyalty.  You need team members who believe in your organization’s vision and the team’s goals.  Choose people whose values and career aspirations are aligned with what you want your team to accomplish.
  • Ambitious.  It’s not enough for job candidates to say they have ambition; they have to show it.  Look for candidates who are willing to accept challenges. 
  • Sense of humor.  When your team is under pressure, the ability to put the situation into perspective with humor can be invaluable.  And don’t just look for this trait in the people you hire, cultivate it yourself.
  • Confidence.  One of the traits that I look for is candidates having confidence in their ability and not being afraid to use it.  Confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people. 
  • Humility.  Humble people aren’t afraid to share the credit for projects.  They can poke a little fun at themselves while taking their work seriously.
  • Committed/Passionate.  Passion is essential on the list of skills necessary to excel.  There is no substitute for passion.  Surround yourself with people who are passionate about their jobs.  But remember, if they are not very good at what they are passionate about, passion won’t matter.
  • Positive.  Positive thinking has no negatives.  Being positive changes the way we behave. 
  • Self-motivated.  I want people who are self-starters.
  • Enthusiastic.  I’m always looking for people who are enthusiastic.  There is one thing more contagious than enthusiasm, and that is the lack of enthusiasm. 
  • Hardworking.  There are many formulas for success but none of them work unless you do.  A candidate’s work ethic should come through loud and clear in an interview.  If you don’t sense it, move on.
  • Creative.  An employee who isn’t in a job that is identified as “creative” may have plenty to offer to the discussion.  Ask questions that would include all members of the team for different perspectives.
  • Flexibility.  If a candidate is more interested in the job description than the job possibilities, you might need to dig deeper into their willingness to take on “other duties as necessary.”  
  • Accountability.  Let employees know what you expect and hold them accountable for results. And hold yourself to the same standards.

Admittedly, the hiring process can be difficult.  Sometimes you have more than one good candidate, which makes your decision more complicated.  Or you have none at all, leaving you frustrated.  Take the time to keep looking until you can fill the position with the right person.  It will make a positive difference for your organization.

Mackay’s Moral:  For positive results, hire positive people.

About the Author

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.