Finding Green Flags for Hiring Success

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Finding Green Flags for Hiring Success

What makes one candidate stand out from the others?

CLEVELAND — Hiring new team members has been a matter of significant concern and frustration in the last few years, and the difficulty in connecting to the people wanting to work in our industry has become especially challenging.  

The pressure to fill has never been greater, and the necessity of prompt selection continues to exert an urgency to press forward with any or every candidate that does not present any disqualifying issues. Now is the time to investigate and identify green flags—the things that make a candidate stand out from the others. 

Focusing on the green flag items within the pool of hirable candidates is the key that may have become seconded by the immediacy of need. Determining the green flag traits that are desired and how to spot them during the application and interview process can greatly enhance the success of the process. 

Some of the easiest and best indicators include the candidate’s previous relevant experience and consistency. The candidate that presents previous achievements can also be valuable, like the identification of their previous leadership experiences. The amount of variety in previous responsibilities can indicate adaptability and resilience.

After looking at this kind of indicator on the application, the interview is the place to fill in the blanks and identify characteristics that are valuable to the company and its culture. Behavioral interviewing is frequently used in this setting and works well but is not necessarily the only or best method to divine the candidate’s aptitudes.  

Whenever using the behavioral interview, an effort to present it as a conversation or discussion often helps the candidate relax and speak freely rather than trying to find the “right” answer.  

Things to consider from the interview as a whole include the candidate’s attitude. Is it overall positive or is it something else? Is there any degree of enthusiasm or excitement? Is the communication from the candidate substantive and organized? How does the candidate present information and does it address the subject directly or only a portion of it?   

Common behavioral interview questions include:

  • Tell me about your previous work experience.
  • Tell me about a difficult coworker and how did you deal with that.
  • What has been your biggest challenge at work?
  • Tell me about the best thing about your former job.
  • Why did you decide to apply here?
  • What motivates you?
  • What do you like most about what you do?
  • Tell me what you would like me to know about you when considering you for the job.

The completed interview record will necessitate the creation of a document to preserve both the relative scoring and the specific items being evaluated. This will need to align with both the goals of the organization and with the identified behavioral traits desired in the position to be filled.  

When creating this record, be sure to include the overall feeling of the interview and a standardized scoring method for all items, like 1-10 on eight fixed and two open indicators. Simple ranking will make the decision much less subjective; empiricism will assist with that goal.

As pressure to hire and the competition for employees continues to rise, attention to retention must become the mantra of first-line leadership. Not taking an active, and proactive, role in the success of current employees will counter all efforts to secure and keep the right candidates.  

Leaders who do not engage employees before a dismissal becomes a real possibility is not acceptable and must never happen. It is easy to believe from a supervisory position that the employee is the issue and not the work situation, but this viewpoint will not carry an organization forward.  

Engage the employee early and uncover the issues that are contributing to the situation to provide sufficient offset to avoid a loss of job whenever possible. These actions will generate camaraderie and gratitude and the news will spread far among the team that the leadership cares about them. 

Now consider the retention and performance potential in that environment.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].