Many years ago I solicited the insight of my boss regarding a difficult choice for a hiring decision. However, instead of giving his input, he provided me with a principle by which he expected me to make the decision (for more on principle related decision making read Do You Adopt or Adapt?). He referred to it as the three-C’s of a hire:
Does the individual have the ability to do the job? In some cases, this refers to competence which can be developed based on demonstrated abilities.
Does this person have character which aligns with organizational expectations and is ethically sound?
Does this person have a demeanor and style which fits with you and the team they will be working in.
I have used this principle extensively. When making difficult decisions, I can usually isolate my hiring concerns to one of these three areas. This simple rubric has also helped me change how I interview. I believe that 80% of interview questions only focus on competence!
Therefore, I have had to develop questions which help me understand chemistry and character. Here are two great examples of how this can be done.
While interviewing for an organization in Southeast Asia, I was asked, “When is it OK to break the rules”. That is a great character question in a region where bribery is normal! When I was a finalist for another job, I was taken out to lunch with the team. After my reply to a comment brought the entire table to laughter, I know that they had a pretty good insight into team chemistry.
One of my students recently taught me a more sophisticated version of this concept (thanks Jeremy!).
The hiring process is important! I think that many people make bad choices because they don’t take the time to consider three main things: character, skills and personality. One way to decrease your risk of picking a poor candidate is by thoroughly interviewing for these characteristics during the job interview
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He works with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman