Anyone who has ever held a job has met an employee that is a poor fit for his or her job. How does this happen? We have more HR professionals than ever before, we have more possible vocations than ever before, we have more job training than ever before and yet we keep sticking square pegs in round holes. Why? The answer is simple: character.
The typical hiring process looks something like this:

1.) Post an ad

2.) Receive 173 replies

3.) Screen all but three based on:

  • Experience – Do they have the skills
  • Education/Accreditations – Do they have the training/schooling
  • Emotion – Based on their resume, do I feel like they’d be a good fit

4.) Have them in for interviews

5.) Make the decision to hire one of the three

6.) Call references to confirm the decision

7.) Offer the job

The typical firing sequence (no pun intended) looks like this:

1.) Notice counterproductive or inappropriate behavior

2.) Do nothing

3.) Repeat the steps 1.) and 2.)

4.) Fire them

This sequence is what occurs when someone is hired based on his or her skills & education alone. Nowhere in the hiring process were character attributes evaluated; yet it was character flaws that got this person fired! (I’m talking specifically about firing, not laying off due to a legitimate downsizing or slow down in the economy.)

An effective hiring process needs to evaluate character traits and should look like the following:

1.) Develop a list of character attributes required for the position

2.) Post an ad that mentions some of these characteristics

3.) Receive 173 replies

4.) Screen all but three based on:

  • Ability to write a cover letter that relates to the ad (not a canned cover letter)
  • A demonstrated ability to learn a new skill or task
  • An interest in growing and learning

5.) Have them in for a lengthy interview. Include questions that get beyond skills and begin to look at character

6.) Call references to further determine if the necessary character traits are present.

7.) If none of the people are the right fit: DON’T HIRE THEM! BE PATIENT!

8.) Offer the job and train the new employee to develop any missing skills

Remember: character traits can’t be learned on the job. If they aren’t present when you hire the individual, they never will be. The interviewees are presenting themselves in the finest possible way in order to have a chance at the job. If you have any concerns about character, don’t hire them. Be patient. Hire right. Hire once. Character counts.