The Surprising Qualities Managers Look For In Job Candidates

June 22, 2016, 12:00 AM UTC
Actress Christina Hendricks (R), who plays the character "Joan Harris" in the AMC series "Mad Men", chats with actor John Slattery, who plays the character "Roger Sterling", during an event to present the Smithsonian National Museum of American History with objects from the TV series Mad Men on March 27, 2015 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mandel Ngan — AFP/Getty Images

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How Do You Build A Strong Team? is written by Ryan Hardwood, CEO of PureWow.

When I started building a team, I thought that our success would be determined by the sum of people’s paper accomplishments. I went for resume, experience, skill set. Does this person have the perfect background? Did they come from an organization that has done what I’m trying to achieve? And while that worked out sometimes, a lot of times it did not. In the early days, it can be hard not to be swayed by a list of impressive qualifications. You have nothing to lean on and you need human capital, so it’s tempting to reach for the people who seem like they can just get the job done rather than take a chance on someone less qualified. But that’s not the right way to do it. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Hire People You Like

There were pain points in the beginning due to hiring solely based on paper and experience. If you’re spending every single day with this person, then it’s important that you like them or your life will be miserable. Ask yourself, “Do I trust this person? Do I respect this person? Is there chemistry here? Do I want this person representing me and this company to our clients?” Work chemistry doesn’t have to translate to friendship, and vice versa. You can’t hire all of your best friends, especially as you scale, but there absolutely has to be something you like about the person — whatever that may be. If you can’t check that box, then their skillset won’t matter. Move on, and move on quick.

Hire With Investment in Mind

I would prefer someone who has considerably less experience that is an incredibly hard worker and that is receptive to feedback. Building an organization of people that are receptive to feedback is probably the most important signifier of whether you’re going to progress quickly and whether your team will be able to grow and adapt at the same rate. Experience is something that I try not to get hung up on. Of course there are certain roles that you just need a specific skill level for, but if a candidate has a baseline understanding and you have the bandwidth to train them then do it.

Foster Your Team

Building a strong team doesn’t end when you hire them. It’s your job to make them want to be here. Make them love the culture and love the people they work with and do things to help them get to know each other. Typically, if people like each other, then you don’t have to do anything. They want to do well because they don’t want to let their peers down. So if you want a strong team it’s your job not to just make them drink the Kool-Aid, but to make them want to drink the Kool-Aid.