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The top 3 characteristics to look for in your next hire

Yes, another blog post about what to look for in your next hire. Why? Because most of us still think experience, skills, and education are what to look for. But the game is changing. Are you?

It’s no longer just about filling a position or recruiting. Instead, it’s about talent acquisition — filling the gap with the RIGHT people. This means bringing in new people who can see the big picture — where the company is going and why — and have the ability to help get you there.

We are not the only ones noticing that we need to look at hiring employees differently. Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology showed that 85 percent of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead — your emotional intelligence, not your intellectual intelligence.

Similarly, to find out what qualities and skills employers are emphasizing in today’s job market, CareerBuilder polled 2,662 private sector U.S. hiring managers about their priorities. Rather than finding high demand for a high IQ, the survey uncovered surprisingly strong evidence that job seekers are placing more value on EQ:

• 34 percent of hiring managers are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees

• 71 percent value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ

• 59 percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EQ

• For workers being considered for a promotion, the high EQ candidate will beat out the high IQ candidate 75 percent of the time

In the past, you might have relied on IQ, skill sets and education to determine if a candidate was the right fit for your organization. Today, I encourage you to focus on EQ, and more specifically, The 3 Hs: heart, hustle and humility. These core characteristics are what sets great talent apart from the rest. So, how can you tell if someone has these characteristics?

When someone has heart, it’s clear that he loves what he does (his work), who he does it with (co-workers) and who he does it for (his company, clients, and the community). It is this unmistakable passion that sets him apart from the rest (think of “Rocky,” “Rudy,” or “Remember the Titans”).

This brings me to hustle. Think of the “Miracle on Ice”; the young boys on the 1980 U.S. hockey team were not better (skills-wise) than the Soviets, but there is no doubt that they practiced harder and longer leading up to that famous night. Similarly, an employee or candidate willing to put in the time, effort and hustle to out-perform and overachieve in all aspects of their job will undoubtedly succeed.

Lastly, humility plays a key role in forming the ideal candidate. An individual who possesses humility is one that is not focused on his ego but rather the greater good that can be achieved by working with a team toward a common goal. This person can easily put personal issues aside and come together in a diverse environment to truly achieve greatness.

But what about the skills, the training, the education? I’m not saying you should dismiss these completely, but The 3 Hs are at least equally important.

So, how do you weed through the masses and stacks of resumes to find these individuals, the ones that will help you move from good, to great, to remarkable? Next month, I’ll lay out some interview best practices we use at entreQuest that drill deeper to help find out which candidates have heart, hustle, and humility.