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Inc. Magazine’s 7 Rules for Recruiting Extraordinary People

Recruiting those really exceptional, ‘extraordinary’ people won’t ever happen if you stick to legacy notions of simply matching skill levels to the company’s job description.

What’s important is what Geoffrey James, a staff writer for Inc’s SalesForce column, came away with from a leadership conference attended by numerous “CEOs and sales execs.”

“How to Hire Extraordinary Employees: 7 Rules” is not a randomly acquired list; the thoughtful tips go beyond the traditional skill-matching process to incorporate a deeper understanding of the applicant’s desires, wants, and even disappointments.

  1. Define your “Extraordinary Employee” – This step requires you to focus on the successful employees in your organization and understand their “talents and skills.” Interview questions around these traits will bring out any skills and character attributes that look to be “exceptional in your specific organization.”
  2. Always be Interviewing – Instead of waiting for the day you need to fill that opening, always be looking ahead and creating an inventory by “interviewing candidates all the time.” Use this along with your social media channels – and email – as a way to find applicants who look like they have that something “extraordinary” to contribute.
  3. Ask Questions That Reveal Character – Don’t throw them the ‘ol soft-ball question, like “What was your greatest achievement?” Get deep-in-the-weeds with this one and ask them to bring up “achievements from grade school, two from high school, two from college … ” and make sure they can tie-in a business-related achievement as well.
  4. Seek People Who Have Overcome Disappointment – You’re looking for those telling and “defining moments” that show they possess resiliency, which is crucial to assessing how they will cope in your business environment.
  5. Don’t Confuse Success with Motivation – How many times have you heard that almost-cliché-type phrase, “self-starters”? Make sure the “self-starter” mantra is only working when heavily supervised.
  6. Hire for Attitude, Not Experience – Hiring based on the applicant’s past track record is not enough; instead you should decide if they have the right mojo and the right attitude to contribute to the company’s future.
  7. Get a Real Reference – Step away from the candidate’s resume when checking references and do your own sleuthing to find the references you need … ”rather than simply calling the ones on the … resume.”

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