4 of the Best Ways to Evaluate a Job Candidate’s Character


When building a company, it’s important to hire employees with relevant skills and experience. This goes without saying. However, many successful companies such as Google have thrived because they also hire for character. This is crucial. Although you don’t necessarily want a completely homogeneous workforce, you do want a workforce where the vast majority of employees share key traits, such as creativity, dedication, and a passion for what they do.

When you’re recruiting new employees, the following tips will help you to identify candidates who possess these traits. In order to successfully hire for character, you should keep these points in mind:


Ask Candidates about Their Values

A strong company is typically built on strong values. A company can only truly embody its stated values if its employees also embody them.

That’s why CEOs and hiring managers often ask candidates about their personal values during job interviews. They want to find out what matters to the people whom they’re thinking about hiring. This will enable them to better understand if a candidate’s values align with those of the organization.



Know What You Want

The character traits that you seek out in potential employees don’t need to perfectly mirror those of other businesses. It’s much more important that you prioritize character traits that match the corporate culture.

For instance, some entrepreneurs believe that employees who like to laugh tend to be those who get along well with others. If employees share a sense of humor, then they can develop the kind of rapport that will help everyone to succeed. They may also be better able to handle the stresses that inevitably accompany work, at times. Thus, business owners who care about this pay attention when interviewing candidates who appear to be willing to laugh and smile.

It is worth noting that a sense of humor is a character trait that isn’t typically associated with work ethic. Remember this when deciding which character traits you want to prioritize in candidates. You shouldn’t limit yourself by merely seeking employees who are hard-working and committed. While these are certainly important qualities, they are by no means the only ones that you should seek out.

Maybe you want employees who possess compassion. Perhaps you want people who enjoy learning. Or, maybe you’re seeking candidates who communicate in an articulate manner. The main point to keep in mind is simply this: you’re far more likely to hire candidates who possess the traits that you are looking for if you define what they are first.


Ask about Challenging Situations

An employee’s character should be considered for a variety of reasons. One of the more noteworthy ones is the fact that the right set of character traits can help an employee to successfully navigate difficult situations. This is key to ensuring that productivity and engagement don’t suffer during challenging times, which can strike even the most successful of companies.

That’s why it’s a good idea to ask candidates about situations in which they were forced to address such challenges. The specific nature of the questions you ask will of course depend on the traits that you’re seeking out.

If it’s important to hire employees who get along well with one another. If you believe that it’s essential to hire people who know how to innovate, ask the candidates about times when they were forced to come up with creative solutions to otherwise challenging problems. Perhaps you want employees who understand that being perfect is less important than making improvements when they fail. If so, then you might ask candidates about situations in which they overcame struggles. Asking questions during the hiring process can yield incredibly valuable insights.



Identify the Character Traits of Your Strongest Employees

When hiring new employees, it can be difficult to know which qualities are worth prioritizing. Once you go beyond the basics, such as diligence and a sense of personal responsibility, you might struggle to determine which other traits are important to identify.

Determining what those traits are will become much easier when you study the qualities of your top performers. While they may all be separate individuals with their own personalities and goals, the odds are good that your best employees share certain key strengths. Identify what those are, and you’ll have a better understanding of which strengths you wish to seek out in the future. This will also provide you with an opportunity to consider how you can more effectively cultivate these strengths across your entire workforce.

Just keep in mind that hiring for character isn’t always simple. You need to learn from your own mistakes, as well. However, if you continue to prioritize this goal, achieving it will become easier over time.

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