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Searching for Great Employees? First Take a Look in the Mirror.

by Thuy Sindell, PhD. and Milo Sindell, MS.

Even in today’s new job market realty where persistent high unemployment is becoming the norm, every company wants great employees and dreams of the perfect hire. Given the high unemployment rate and economic uncertainty, companies are more often holding out on hiring employees like a virgin bride waiting for Mr. or Miss right.

Traditionally, companies follow the usual process of scooping, screening, and grilling; That is scooping up a bunch of resumes, screening the bunch to identify who looks the best, grilling the person with a host of behavior interview questions. And if the grilling goes well, making an offer. Sadly, this process is dated and still fails to help companies find truly the best person.

No matter the framework and the categories that are used to define and identify candidate perfection, the process still is deficient and will always be if your company is only looking at half the hiring equation.

Making the right hire is much like dating, it takes two to have a great relationship. You need to be very clear on what you want in your perfect hire and you need to look inward to ensure that you and your company understands what type of candidate is going to be the best fit and that your are able to make good on your side of the deal. Imagine, being courted by someone who looks great on the outside but on your first date you realize the bad breath, chain smoking, and anger management issues.

First define your perfect hire. Of course skills, competencies, and the ability to learn to perform the job are a great starting place. Notice I mention “ability to learn” in considering your dream hire. Does she need to have all the skills needed to perform the job or are there other more important factors such as personality or the ability to learn quickly that take precedent? Clearly define the dynamics of the role you are hiring for; ie, does the candidate need to be able to navigate highly political relationships, do they need to be able to easily switch gears between ambiguity and minutely detailed tasks? Understanding what the reality of the on-the-job experience of the person you are looking to hire will help you better define what your dream hire looks like and the traits that fulfill your definition of perfection.

After you are clear on who your perfect hire is, it’s time to look in the mirror to see what it is your company has to offer.


Identify what are the significant traits of your company’s culture and what are the characteristics of successful employees given this culture. Ask yourself why should someone come to work at your company? What makes the company, its people, team, and leaders unique?

Face the good, bad, and the ugly. Be honest with yourself, it’s not all roses. Be able to communicate all faucets of the company, the role, and obstacles to dream hire success. Facing all the facts will help you define the right characteristics required to be successful in your company.

Company Leadership:

Identify the characteristics of your leaders. What do they value and how do those values permeate the company? Is the CEO communicated a clear vision, strategy, and company goals? Understanding your leadership and the influence they have will help you share who drives your company more effectively to your potential employees and ensure a fit.

The Hiring Manager:

A lot of managers suck and really should not be managing people. What’s the point of finding a great candidate only to throw them into the teeth of a bad manager. Be real about the personality of the hiring manager and the candidate that will succeed with that manager.

The Team:

Define the dynamics of the team that the potential hire will be joining. Understand what type of hire is going to fit the team from a skill and personality perspective.

The Hiring Process:

Look at the hiring experience through the eyes of your candidate. Does your hiring process and experience reflect your company values, brand, and who you want to attract?

Having a 360 degree view of your perfect candidate and what you and your company has to offer ensures a better hiring process for everyone involved.

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