Keys to Success: Hiring Remarkable Employees

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On March 12, 2012

Few things have a bigger impact on the success of a company than the quality of its employees. There’s really no way around it: if you want to have a great company you have to have great employees. But what makes an employee “great?”

Not long ago, ran an article by Jeff Haden called 8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees. You can read the whole insightful article here, but let me highlight for you the eight qualities Jeff claims characterize remarkable employees:

1. They ignore job descriptions.

2. They’re eccentric

3. But they know when to dial it back

4. They publicly praise

6. They speak when others won’t

7. They like to prove others wrong

8. They’re always fiddling

Jeff does a nice job of unpacking what those qualities mean—and why they are important for a company. Here’s a kicker, though. That list probably isn’t the list that most companies come up with when they think of the qualities they’re looking for in an ideal employee. Most companies come up with character traits like: dependable, experienced, well-educated, steady, consistent performer, and boring. OK, most companies aren’t really looking for boring employees, but you have to admit that a lot of what companies tend to look for is not exactly exciting.

If you want to have a company like every other company, you can probably settle for the same kind of employees that every other company has. If you want a great company, you’re going to need great employees.

Guess what? It works the other way as well. Great companies attract great employees. Companies that want to find new ways to do things and break new ground tend to attract people that are wired that way.

Here are two important questions for you as a leader:

1. What kind of employees are you looking for? Write out your own list of qualities that you think are important.

2. What are you doing that will make your company attractive to those kinds of individuals? Write out a second list of why quality people would be attracted to your company.

What is the #1 quality you’re looking for in a potential employee?