Why it’s Important to Hire for Values

Last week, as part of my 5-week review of what to look for when hiring, I wrote about background. This week, I’ll focus on values.
You’ve evaluated their traits, their knowledge and skills, and their background. There’s just one piece of the puzzle left. Their values.
Let me explain. One of the things I value deeply is positive energy. I believe in exuding positive energy, I think positive energy is infectious, and I find positive energy is far more likely to lead to positive results. Why do I value it so much? Because growing up I had the great fortune of experiencing the juxtaposition of people with positive energy and negative energy. It was crystal clear to me that positive energy was who I wanted to be (grammar intended).
So how does positive energy play out in my work? To start, it plays out simply in how I greet people. And it plays out in how I lead teams, facilitate meetings, and deliver workshops. People regularly comment about how much they like and appreciate my positive energy.
Well, you might think, isn’t that a trait, not a value? Yes, it is a trait, a trait grounded in a value. And traits grounded in values are more powerful and enduring than traits grounded in motives such as: if I act like this then the boss will think I’m a team player.
Values are reflected in traits. But not all traits are rooted in values. In hiring team members I’m looking for the former.
So how do you test for values? Ask potential team members about the values they hold dearest. Then ask: why? Ask for examples as to how their personal values have played out at work. And if there was ever a time they questioned one of their values or acted in conflict with one of their values. How did that play out? Knowing how and why values became values helps to validate them.
Over the past 5 weeks I’ve covered the four essential categories to consider when evaluating potential team members: traits, knowledge and skills, background, and values. One final point: The more converging evidence you have that a candidate is a strong candidate, the more confident you can be that that person will be a successful hire.
And making successful hires is a skill that every leader wants to have.
Your thoughts?

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