3 Things to Look for in an Interviewee

When you’re trying to build a team that will help you grow your business and crush all of your goals, it’s crucial that you invest in the right people.

One of my Instagram followers recently asked me what I look for in a potential employee. (Thanks to Levi for this great question!)

Like anyone else, I want to hire the most qualified and driven candidate for any position. But actually getting the right person for the job means knowing the right questions to ask.

Here are the top three characteristics I look for in any potential employee—and, more importantly, how I know when the applicant actually has them.

Technical expertise

This should go without saying, but you need to make sure you’re hiring someone who can handle the technical demands of the position they’re applying for. There is a technical skillset that’s required for every job. Does the applicant possess those skills?

For example, if I’m hiring a videographer, I need to know that they can set up and run the camera, edit video with the software we use, and deliver an amazing finished product.

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Of course, anyone can say they know how to use a certain program or perform a given task, so it’s important to pay attention to how your interviewee answers this question. People who aren’t actually qualified tend to give shorter answers or speak more generically about a topic. When they really know what they’re talking about, the words flow out of them naturally. They speak in specifics and give detailed examples.

Proven track record

While you can learn a certain amount about an applicant from their resume, the interview is where you really find out what they bring to the table.

One of the most important things you want to learn is how this person will handle problems that come up in your business. If I’m looking to hire a controller, I’ll ask them to tell me about a time when they saved a company money without lowering morale or hurting sales. When someone has a history of cutting costs without a negative impact on sales, I know they have the track record I need for this position.

If someone is applying for an internship or their first job out of school, I can ask them to tell me about a time where they overcame a difficult situation. From that question alone, I can learn so much about their character and work ethic.

This is why our applications also include a section for recreational activities and special skills. A potential hire can point to their extracurricular activities or volunteer work to show their ability to persevere through hard times. Consider this if you’ve got an entry level applicant, or someone who is looking to change careers—they might still be a great fit for your company in the long run.

Chemistry

Here’s the thing: all the technical expertise and experience in the world won’t mean a thing if the applicant isn’t a good fit for your team.

Michael Jordan and Lebron James are two of the greatest basketball players ever. But simply having the two of them on the same team is no guarantee of success.

What if Michael and Lebron can’t agree on a strategy? What if they won’t even pass each other the ball? Ultimately, teammates need to have the same goals and vision. Otherwise, no one wins.

When it comes to your team, the most important thing is to hire someone who is in alignment with your values. What does this person want to achieve in their life? Will they be an asset to your team, or someone who coasts through the work week and collects a paycheck?

In a 2018 interview with CNBC, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner revealed the number one question he’d ask any interviewee: “What’s your ultimate dream job?”

I think that’s an amazing question to ask. The answer will give you insight into what this person loves, and whether they’re in alignment with the values and vision of your organization. Ultimately, if your interviewee has heart, passion, and chemistry with your team, you can teach them the skills they need to know and help them build their track record.

I will take a passionate person over a skilled person any day of the week. A passionate person will be innovative, creative, and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. In the long run, that’s what will get us both to the next level.

Written by Luke Acree

Luke Acree, President of ReminderMedia, is a sales fanatic, a marketing evangelist, and an expert team builder. Luke has worked with tens of thousands of agents over the years, helping them understand how to connect with their client database in a way that generates leads, secures repeat clients, and captures referrals.