I have spent many years interviewing candidates, teaching interview techniques and picking apart interviews. Over the past few months, I really started breaking down the basics of what I look for when hiring someone. Most jobs require a tangible skill set as it relates to a specific field (i.e. a C# software developer, will of course require knowledge of C#).
But what intangible traits make successful employees? What is the DNA code that successful people possess? Whatever the code, these are the skills most employers are looking for, they separate the “Your Hired” from the “Thanks, best of luck in your search.”
Here is the short of it, you got to make things happen! No excuses….how many times do I listen to a candidate discuss reason they “did not achieve” goals i.e “blame others”. I recently landed my dream job and on day 1 was provided a clear instruction; “hire the best”. No careers page, no huge budget, no desk with everything laid out….just make it happen! At age 17, I learned this lesson when I was literally dropped off at college and told “good luck”. No car, no scholarship, no trust fund….. My options were …succeed or fail – I chose to succeed!
What are your goals in life? Where do you want to be in 3 years? All common questions, so why are people so scared to answer them truthfully and directly? Most are afraid if they answer and it does not match the employers “desired answer” they will not get the job. When I was 15 years old I worked in a peach orchard, during the hot Alabama summers. I loved the people and the job, but was determined to find a job “indoors with cool/refreshing air conditioning. The next summer I landed a job in a local grocery story after a long search and very few options (my hometown has 1200 people, kinda limits the options). Over the years my goals and ambitions have grown past A/C, but those lessons have stuck with me for a lifetime.
I often say, ” I can teach a person to recruit/sale/whatever” but I can not teach you passion! If you dread Mondays then you are not pursuing your passion! I have not dreaded a single Monday since November 2011…guess what, I love what I am doing….if I dread Mondays then that is a huge problem! Passions will grow and new ones will reveal themselves, but only if you are seeking to understand them, Know what you are passionate about and pursue with your full heart or be satisfied with staying awake on Sundays dreading the inevitable “case of the Mondays”
If you can not provide clear examples of delivering on objectives and goals and how they tie back to the company’s vision and goals, you most likely will not work for many desired employers. Do you execute on goals and deliver work product? My career goals have always been simple, “hire the best”, these were the goals in my first professional job in 1996 and ring true today. Of course I have done more than just hire people, as my roles grew and career advanced….but every new venture required delivering my best!
Employers want smart people, that make things happen and can figure out problems. As a child I remember speaking to a relative that did not hold a college education. He sold honey and needed a way to quickly extract honey from beehives….he built a machine out of a few bicycles and other parts that could extract the honey quickly and easily…this was prior to Pinterest of Google! He was smart and determined, tried many times, finally got it right and had success! Ask yourself, what is the most innovative thing you have done in your career?
I could list 10+ traits but these sum it up. Don’t just think about these from the perspective of “my next interview” Are these life traits that you possess and embrace? Can you honestly convey these 5 things about yourself to others? I will end with two of my favorite quotes that should sum it up:
“Do or Do Not, there is NO try”! Yoda
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit”…Paul “Bear” Bryant