Many of America’s gainfully employed are familiar with the saying that we spend more time at work than at home. For the majority of the working population, spending time at their place of employment instead of home is more of a reality than a mere saying. With this excess allotment of time colleagues often become trusted friends and extended family members of sort. It’s of utter importance to ensure that any new addition to your work clan is a good fit for existing employees and the business overall. However, making the right choice for a new hire requires a lot of thought. Loyalty, efficiency, professionalism and reliability are all important traits, but along with a great attitude and useful credentials, trustworthiness is the utmost important characteristic to look for.
“When I am in the interview process, I try to listen more to what the candidates aren’t saying than what they are saying,” shares Lynne Lee, human resources manager, PreGel AMERICA, who believes that anyone can say anything and make themselves sound irreplaceable on paper, but impressive articulation and eye-catching resumes are not the most important part of hiring a new addition. “I would definitely rate trustworthiness higher than solid credentials,” says Lee. This philosophy rings throughout the Human Resources Industry when it comes to making a new hire.
But what does being trustworthy actually mean? According to dictionary.com, trustworthy means deserving of trust, confidence. In other words, a trustworthy candidate is one who an employer can feel secure in executing the responsibilities to which they are assigned. Consequently, the adjectives dependable and reliable are derivatives of trustworthy and help to compose the list of character traits you should be looking for in new team members which include self-motivation and passion.
Although a candidate having a strong work ethic is imperative to the overall quality of your business, it’s important to remember that personality traits also play a large part in the success of a new partnership. “You can usually train people to do the work, but you can’t train them to have good morals, values and personalities. It’s important to lead by example, but it’s everyone’s own choice as to how they act and react,” says Lee.
In the article, “15 Traits of the Ideal Employee” published by Forbes.com, the most intelligent companies depend heavily on personality when it comes to hiring the most apt candidates, though they don’t discount qualities such as: honesty, marketability, passion, modesty, confidence, intelligence, ambition, leadership capabilities, positivity and being a team player.
Being able to discern between a good and bad hire is a gift for human resource professionals as it is commonly understood that forging a solid relationship with a new hire also requires trusting your own instinct. However, it is best practice to fact check an applicant’s credentials and character by confirming with the references they list. Keep in mind that a strong reference is someone your applicant has either reported to, worked with or managed/supervised. These are the most reliable types to accurately report the quality of your candidate’s job performance and not just their great sense of humor, which a personal reference might share. Additionally, with today’s access to information, doing a bit of research on Google, LinkedIn and other social sites is also advised. It’s important to know a new hire is worth the time, energy and emotional investment.
Lee’s last piece of advice when hiring a team member you can trust merges professional and moral views. She shares, “Someone’s principles and how they are outside of work means a lot. Look for individuals who care about your company’s values as much as you do. And keep in mind that it’s not necessarily any one word or phrase that sounds good during the interview. Watch more for how they act, smile (or not); questions they may ask, and if they answer with their heart and not just their mouth.”
Once your work family adds another member, it’s important to enforce practices that will aid in your new employee’s smooth transition into their new responsibilities and work culture. According to fastcompany.com, developing a mentorship program, providing educational opportunities and setting clear benchmarks for success will provide a sense of empowerment to your employee, and allow you the added benefit of being able to properly track your new hire’s development.