Surprising Priorities For Hiring “A-Level” Employees

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On June 18, 2017

Transforming your company into a high-growth business requires more than just a good idea. It demands more than good strategy and execution. If you want to scale up and grow, it’s essential that you hire the right people. But what characteristics are most important in the people you hire? Here’s a look as some surprising priorities for hiring “A-level” employees—the kind of people that will help you take your business to the next level.

When I say these are surprising characteristics, what I’m really talking about is the order of importance. It’s pretty common to look at a potential candidates skill set first. That seems pretty logical. Obviously, you need someone who has the skills you need, but there are more important core values that should be there before you look at skills. Here’s the hierarchy that leads to landing A-level employees.

  1. Will/Desire: First and foremost you want to find people who have an almost insatiable will and desire to learn and to win. If you find people who are committed to being successful and eager to learn, they will find a way to succeed. Just having “skills” isn’t enough—partly because the skills that worked yesterday may not be the ones that will work today or tomorrow.
  2. Values: It’s critical that you find people who fit your company’s cultural norms. I’m not talking about people who talk or vote exactly the way you do. I’m talking about people who are driven by the same business goals and are committed to achieving them. You want to find people who demonstrate the kind of behaviors that drive you business forward. Those are the people who will go the extra mile and put in the extra time required to make things happen.
  3. Results: You also want to hire people who have a track record—who have demonstrated that they can deliver the kind of results you want. The emphasis is on results here—not conformity. That means you could end up hiring someone who is a bit “untraditional” in his or her approach. A good employee consistently meets goals. A great employee finds ways to exceed your goals.
  4. Skills: Obviously you want someone with the actual skills to do the job well. Some people talk a good talk. They’ll get excited about your vision. That’s great but you still need someone with the competency to complete the tasks at hand. Cheerleaders can help boost moral, but they don’t win games.

As you go through your hiring process for your fast-growing company, keep in mind that these are not “either/or” characteristics. You really want a blend of all of these character traits. But make sure you start with those less-measurable things. They are the things that are more important in enabling you to achieve those measurable goals for growth.h.