Published Date: 09/08/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Most organizations want to hire the absolute best candidate for every opening. With many applicants competing for an opportunity, it can be easy to overlook a top performer shuffled among the applications. Interviews, if rushed or unstructured, can also lack the focus necessary to identify these individuals. Not recognizing a top performer in your talent pool does not necessarily result in a hiring mistake. However, it always results in a missed opportunity.
A prime example can be found in the case of Brian Acton. Acton interviewed with both Facebook and Twitter early in his career, and was rejected by both companies. He later cofounded WhatsApp, which was acquired earlier this year by Facebook for $19 billion.
What should you look for in your recruiting efforts to identify a top performer?
A top performer has a competitive nature. They are willing to put themselves on the line every day and in everything they do. These individuals make no excuses for their desire to win and take full responsibility for their performance.
A top performer has the mindset of a winner. Complete faith in the company’s mission statement and core values is present at all times. Performance is driven by mental toughness and passion for their job. These individuals believe winning is a given and it is just a question of time.
A top performer is self-motivated and self-disciplined. Failure is acceptable, as long as it is followed by a quick recovery and a heightened determination to try again. Not making the attempt due to the risk of failure is definitely not acceptable. Periodic self-evaluation to re-charge and re-focus is built in.
A top performer does not sacrifice their integrity. Winning is important, but not if the price is too high. Sacrificing one’s integrity is not the way to win. Top performers first learn how to play, then become a master player and always play by the rules when competing.
A top performer prepares for multiple outcomes. Top performers have direct control over their actions and can set things in motion toward a positive result. However, they cannot necessarily control the actions of clients, management or other team members. Therefore, they think through each process, analyze the various possible outcomes of each action and prepare their next steps for each different scenario. These individuals do not wait for problems to come to them. Instead, they plan for problems and meet them head-on.
Take time during your recruiting and interview process to ask questions to help identify these characteristics in your candidates. Some candidates may have a couple of these characteristics, but not all, and may still be excellent hires. Top performers with all five of these characteristics will use their initiative and desire to win to help grow your business.