Hiring ‘Change Artists’ for Small Businesses
Today, the qualities you want in job candidates include flexibility, adaptability and broad business knowledge, because work environments are dynamic. What’s needed are rapid and eager learners. Here are some questions to ask to ascertain if you’ve got good candidates:
- Are the candidates highly adaptive? You want to find people who are fleet on their feet in adapting to changes in the work environment. After all, change is a constant. Ask for examples from their most recent positions that show how they were able to shift and evolve to workplace change. Adaptability—the capacity to take on new roles and embrace new ways of thinking—is critical.
- Do the candidates ask great questions? Everyone knows you need to come to a job interview having researched the position. Ask your candidates what they know about your business and your work. Can the candidates listen, synthesize and ask thoughtful questions about the heart of your business? This will tell you a lot about the people interviewing. Will they be able to diagnose a market problem as it’s occurring and respond to it?
- Are the candidates voraciously curious? What else do the candidates want to know? Do they overflow with questions? Embrace uncertainty? Great employees need to be great learners, and being voraciously curious is key to high productivity and breakthrough thinking.
- Do the candidates see patterns in disparate information? Mountains of data and an overabundance of information overwhelm work environments. Can the candidates see patterns and sense important trends in information, workflows and organizational crises? Are they proactive in seeing what’s happening in the market? Would they be able to communicate the information to others, including the receptionist, the regional sales manager and IT security?
- Are the candidates team players? While some businesses tolerate “brilliant jerks,” today’s competitive business environment demands individuals who are deeply cooperative and have skills to help groups thrive and be productive. Search for future employees who understand that thinking is improved by collaboration and diversity and will use their interpersonal skills to add to the team.
- Are they good resource managers? Knowing how to do best with less is a critical new skill. Metaphorically, can candidates use both sides of the paper? Are they committed to more for less, seeing how it’s good for everyone?
Among other highly sought attributes is enthusiasm for people and relationships, so the new employees will add to spirited workplaces. You want creative communicators who can generate positive feeling and productive energy in your company. Can the candidates admit mistakes and see learning as a pleasure?
Can you see the person sitting in front of you on your team after a restructuring business crisis or redesign of the firm? Does the candidate have values and habits you respect? Consider all the angles before making a decision.