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Hiring Employees with Character: What Should You Note?

When employers look at a pool of candidates, the first things they usually check are qualifications, licenses, level of education, and other measures of achievement. And rightly so—we always want to ensure that the people we invite to our companies are qualified and that they come with a degree of training and preparedness for the job.

However, it’s also just as important that we look at a candidate’s character because it can influence the following:

  • How they interact and communicate with other people in the company, from the bosses to the workers.
  • How they collaborate and work with others, especially if your business thrives in teamwork between employees.
  • How they rise above the challenges of life to meet project deliverables no matter what they’re going through in their personal life.

The truth is, a person’s character doesn’t always reveal itself from the very beginning. This is why as bosses or managers, the onus is on us to do the proper vetting from the application process. If an employee’s character is just as important to you as their qualifications, and if your business entails having people on board that you know can be trusted, here are some tips for helping you find employees with character and integrity.

Have them take research-based tests

Aside from doing the usual interviews, you would also benefit greatly from having applicants take an exam for employment integrity. These tests were developed by a team of experienced psychologists, national defense strategists, and technical specialists. If your business involves a lot of confidentiality and you need to know that the people you have onboard are trustworthy, then these tests can help you weed out unscrupulous individuals from those that have integrity.

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Do the proper vetting

Here are some tips for ensuring that the candidates go through a thorough vetting process:

  • Don’t skip over their references. There’s a reason you asked for these character references in the first place—they exist to help you identify exactly how these candidates interacted with their previous bosses and managers, and it will help you know if a candidate’s personality and manner of working fit with your company culture.
  • If you have a clear idea of the characteristics and qualities that you’re looking for, matching your desired output to their past performance will be a great advantage to you and your search. This involves being thorough in your checking and asking pertinent questions to help you gain an understanding of their work ethic and capabilities.

Invite the candidates to spend time with your team

It may be tempting to rely solely on the interview and tests to get a feel for people’s character. However, nothing will be more revealing than time spent with the people they will be working with. Consider inviting your candidates to spend a significant amount of time with a handful of your existing employees, and have them do so in a wide array of situations—informal lunch or coffee, one-on-one, work simulations, and other scenarios they may have to face at work if they get accepted.

Doing this will help you see how certain candidates interact with your present team, and it will give stakeholders a picture of how the candidates will fare once they’re in the company. They will also be allowed to provide valuable feedback, providing you with an extra set of eyes to look for red flags as soon as possible. Culture fit will also be determined through this process. But this can only happen if you have a deep understanding of your company culture first.

Check their values

If there’s one thing that will help you gain an insight into what is important to them, it’s observing the questions they ask. Good candidates should ask thoughtful and relevant questions—it shows that they are engaged and prepared.

However, it can also be a way for you as an interviewer to know their values and if they are the type to engage in a dialogue. It will also allow you to see if there is an alignment in your goals and values. A candidate with good and engaging character will treat the interview as more of a conversation than a one-sided affair where they only answer your questions.

As a professional facing possible employees, do not underestimate the importance of character when hiring somebody. We are always one step away from hiring an unsafe person who can topple down everything we’ve built. With this, remember to do all you can to find people with integrity.

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