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When you hire employees, you should keep in mind those investment prospectuses that entice you with a great track record yet warn, “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance.”

While the odds are better, your new hire may not succeed at your company just because they highlighted great accomplishments and extensive experience on their resume.

When hiring, delve deeper and explore the skills, characteristics, aptitude, and abilities rather than past accomplishments and length of experience. Your job is to look beyond the flash and find those candidates with exactly the right balance of skills and traits to succeed at your company.

Here are some things to look for, keeping in mind that they shouldn’t be assessed independently since they are often interrelated.

Are they fresh or are they stale?

Sometimes someone fresh out of school will be a better fit than someone who’s done the same job for 20 years and may not have much new to contribute. In fact, the 20-year veteran may actually only have one year of experience repeated 20 times, not 20 years of progressive experience.

You have to look closely to understand whether this is the case or not. A resume with many different kinds of experiences may actually be better, even if each isn’t obviously related to the role you are hiring for.

How much experience the candidate needs depends completely on the role and the support this person will have. If you are hiring someone into an established team, your current team composition will dictate whether you need a fresh view on the role or someone who has an extensive background.

If your new employee needs to be the subject matter expert, then steady, long-term experience may be useful, but if you are looking for innovation and new ideas, make sure this isn’t the only criteria you use when hiring.

Are they a flash in the pan or do they have staying power?

Someone with many years of experience but no single blockbuster accomplishment on their resume may be a great, steady performer who is operates the radar yet accomplishes a lot, while the candidate with a single blockbuster resume accomplishment may not be able to repeat the performance for your company.

It’s also important to determine the applicant’s actual role in the accomplishment. Were they a driver or did they simply benefit from someone else’s accomplishments and went along for the ride?

If the single accomplishment is highly meaningful to the role you are hiring for, give it serious consideration. Otherwise, dig deeper to find out their true contribution to success, whether it’s highlighted in the resume or hidden. They may be great for the supporting role you need instead of acting as the shining star.

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About Michel Theriault

Michel Theriault is an author, speaker, and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is the author of Write To Influence (from the Quick Guides for Managers series), Win More Business – Write Better Proposals and Managing Facilities & Real Estate. Write To Influence is currently available as a free download in ebook and audiobook format. As the founder of Success Fuel for Managers, Michel’s work includes training, consulting, seminars, and business-oriented books. Connect with Michel or read his blogs about management and leadership on his site at www.successfuelformanagers.com.


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