Hiring Good People


By Andre Townsel, Managing Attorney of Townsel Law Firm

Have you ever heard the phrase, “He’s good people?” That colloquialism is often used describe someone whose is viewed as having a good, overall character or someone who you would like to have on your team.

As one who has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly while working with hundreds of employees and employers over the years, I think there are five traits that you should consider when hiring “good people” for your organization.

Five Traits to Consider When Hiring:

Healthy Self-Respect

We’re not talking overconfidence or braggadocio here. Rather, when a person feels comfortable with who she is, it shows. A healthy level of self-respect enables a person to evaluate things on her own terms, without acquiescing to improper influences. So, while refusing to lower standards on things of great importance, this same person may be willing to compromise on things of lesser importance for the greater good of the organization. You want someone who cares enough about her own value and integrity that doing the right thing is not a choice, but a way of life.

Actions That Match the Words

Ever interview the “empty suit?” This person may have impeccable credentials on paper and even say all the right things…initially. But, when you delve below the surface to find real examples that match the flowery rhetoric, the well quickly runs dry. This person will almost inevitably exhibit competency issues when it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Be sure that your selection process requires the applicant to credibly describe a history of actions that will be important to his success at your company.

Willingness to Sacrifice

Sacrifice is not a word that is often bandied about in workplace circles. Whether it’s the waitress who volunteers to work overtime, the clerk who willingly picks up the slack for a sick co-worker, or the journalist who understands that the third draft still isn’t good enough for publication, your next hire should be someone who understands that occasional sacrifice is just part of the job.

Big Picture People

Jobs are created by profitable organizations, and those who can see how their role contributes to the overall success of the company are true, desirable assets. Employees should not focus too narrowly on their discrete function without understanding (or caring about) how their work impacts a co-worker, department or division. This can lead to frustrations, inefficiencies and organizational disharmony. Look for the team member who understands that a rising tide will float all boats.

Positive Outlook

Few things are more distracting to a motivated staff than the constant complainer who rarely sees the good in anything or anyone. Even if this person is individually productive, how much is she costing the company in the morale and productivity of others? We spend too much time in the workplace not to have fun, or at least feel good about the product, service or people with whom we work. Leaks of negativity are likely to be apparent in the interview process. Don’t ignore these signs.

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