There is a plethora of important-sounding criteria we’re to look at when hiring employees, and when doing annual performance reviews: teamwork, accountability, attention to detail, technical skills, communication, integrity, passion, culture fit, etc. So many that sometimes they leave both the employee/candidate and the manager scratching their heads.
After years of compiling various lengthy lists, I recently boiled the things I look for in a good employees down to three:
1) You need to be a good human being.
If you need to be explained what constitutes a good human being, then maybe you’ve already failed the interview…
2) You need to be enthusiastic about your work.
To me, the will to work, the will to improve your work, comes from how much you like your work.
3) You need to have the power of concentration
To me, “IQ”, knowledge and skill are all a function of your power of concentration.
I’ve come to realize that everything — technical capability, teamwork, accountability, communication, attention to detail — can be traced back to one or more of the above three things (that, and I have a fetish for lists of three).
Anyone who is deficient in (1) is an immediate reject, no matter how capable he may be. It takes only one bad apple to destroy an organizational work ethic built over years.
Anyone who is deficient in (3) is also an immediate reject. While well meaning, their misses can ultimately become a burden to their fellow team mates. Although, I have on occasion hired those with strong (1+3), but weak (2): there are some good, honest workers out their whose lives do not revolve around their careers. It’s a mistake to overlook them.
These three things, coupled with the specific requirements of each job, has been more helpful to me in picking the right people than any other list I’ve used before.
P.S. if you look for attributes that cannot be traced back to these three things, do let me know. I’m willing to refine this further…