Hire for Character and Build the Team That Will Grow Your Business


Character matters. Leaders know this. It’s obvious that putting the right team together can make the difference between having a business that grows and thrives, or spending your time micromanaging and putting out fires. Less obvious, though, is how to identify candidates with good character as they come in the door. 

Charisma Is Not Character

Don’t make the mistake of relying on basic interview questions to determine a candidate’s character. A candidate who is comfortable talking to a stranger and answering probing questions may have charisma – a positive trait, especially in sales and marketing – but does not necessarily have the character traits you need most to serve an agile and growing company. Growth leader Eyal Gutentag says that creativity, autonomy, and attention to detail are among the most important skills to include on your team.

Credentials and Experience Are Not Character

Usually, the hiring process begins with a call for resumes. Often, your call for resumes might include criteria for education and experience. Do a candidate’s education and experience tell you enough about their qualifications? Maybe not. Leading with the values and character you expect of a candidate might tell you more about whether a potential team member will be a good fit for your company’s culture.

Character Persists Through Challenges

Every growing business experiences challenges, as growth can be a challenge in and of itself. When your business is planning for a period of growth (or if it has grown without planning,) every team member you add is vital to the structure of your business going forward. If you are unsure how to hire the right people to take your business to the next level, a consult with a growth marketing leader may help you to clarify your company’s culture and values and be sure that you screen potential new hires for the qualities you seek. 

Character Looks Out for Problems and Takes Action

One method suggested for screening potential hires for character is the wrapper test – before meeting with a candidate for an interview, place a crumpled candy wrapper near the door. While this simple test cannot tell you everything you need to know about a potential hire, you can be sure that the candidates who stop to pick up the wrapper are detail-oriented, able to see potential problems, and are willing to take action without being prompted. These are qualities you want to include in a team that is focused on growth. 

Take the Time to Hire for Character

Finding candidates for your growing team is a time-consuming process. Especially when you are growing and facing pressure to fill a role within your company, it is tempting to make your selections based on a resume and initial interview. However, much time and energy can be lost in selecting a candidate who is a poor fit for your company’s culture, or who is not equipped to grow and adapt alongside your company. 

By structuring your call for resumes to emphasize core values, and by following up with an interview process that highlights candidates with strong character, you can build the team that will drive your company’s growth over the long term.

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