Many hiring managers believe that when a candidate demonstrates a fit with the organization’s culture and an alignment of values it trumps even the most sophisticated technical skills. It is not only about what a new hire can do for a company but how he or she will do it.
Certainly character is a big part of any hiring decision, but especially at a leadership level. My favourite author, Dr. Henry Cloud, suggests that we can think of character as the hull of a boat. If a person has a strong character the hull is watertight. However, if a person’s character is less than optimal it’s as though the body of the boat has holes. In smooth waters, the holes are less noticeable but when you’re in more challenging waves, they are obvious and create survival issues.
But are there certain traits that are more important than others?
Last year, KRW International published research that was featured in the Harvard Business Review to suggest that four character qualities of leaders were linked to better financial performance of the companies they lead.
These four traits are: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion.
As you look to hire for a role on your team this year, consider asking behaviour-based interview questions that allow you to see how your potential candidates measure up on these important characteristics. Remember, your ship will be in their hands.