During the hiring process, most managers focus on hard skills and experience when identifying top candidates. While a person certainly needs the technical aptitude to manage the role, hiring based on those points alone could leave you wanting, and a single bad hire can create a lot of havoc.

Instead of only considering a person’s hard skills and experience, you also need to assess their character. To help you see why (and how), here’s what you need to know before you hire for character.

Why Character Matters

Often, a candidate’s character gives you indications of their level of integrity. This can kind of information is vital as it allows you to determine whether you can trust the person to act appropriately on a daily basis. Additionally, it gives you the ability to assess whether the job seeker is a good cultural fit, which can indicate a higher likelihood that they will be productive in your environment.

A person of poor character automatically serves as a point of risk in your workplace. Not only is it hard to trust that they won’t do something to harm the company, like “borrow” money from the petty cash drawer or act inappropriately with coworkers or customers, it also leaves you in a place where you feel like you need to watch their every move, upping the stress associated with supervising them.

How to Assess a Candidate’s Character

When compared to reviewing a job seeker’s hard skills, it can be fairly challenging to assess their character if you don’t approach it properly. One of the easiest ways to begin is to ask candidates questions about how they interpret or would apply certain rules or ethics in specific situations. Inquiries about how they handled a difficult coworker or a personal failure can also give you valuable insights.

Another method involves contacting their professional references. Often, these former managers and coworkers have witnessed the person’s character first hand, so they likely have a substantial amount of information. You can ask questions regarding the job seeker’s demeanor, work ethic, or anything else that gives you an idea about their workplace personality to help you get a better picture.

You can also review the candidate’s social media pages if their content is public as long as you are capable of not allowing any details that qualify as part of a protected class, such as their age, race, or gender, to impact your decisions.

Running a background check is also wise, though it is crucial that you follow any federal and local laws and regulations regarding their use in hiring decisions.

Ultimately, assessing a candidate’s character should be part of your process, even if it is harder to pin down than their hard skills. Character is something that typically can’t be taught, so finding someone with the right traits is incredibly important.

If you are looking to add a member to your team, the professionals at TempStaff can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to speak with a recruitment specialist today and see how our services can help you hire for character and otherwise benefit you.



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