Marketing Profs Describe Their Ideal New Hires

Filed in LinkedIn 35 comments

If you were in a position to hire a new employee for your company, what would be the most important quality (in your opinion) the candidates you interview should have?

Recently Al Bagocius, CEO of The A & I Consulting, posted the question above to the 6800+ member LinkedIn group MarketingProfs. Al explained: “I posted the discussion as a learning tool for those looking for & trying to keep a job. I wanted them to see responses & suggestions from the group that may help them become better employees and groom themselves in the search process.”

Here are nine responses:

Superb talent and creativity in his or her field. Then, reliability — Sara Thurston

Would I be willing to have them as guests for dinner at my home with my family — Bill Doerr

Honesty – Art Shapro

Personal Integrity: We can mentor and teach him/her everything else but that …. and without it we’d be attempting to fill a ‘cracked’ vessel — John Weber

First attitude and flexibility, second creativity and out of the box thinking — Dr. Cande Tschetter

Honest and integrity are critical, but without passion for what he/she does, you could easily end up with a reliable chair-warmer — Cindi Smith

Follow through – absolutely! If they have that, it lets me know that they have integrity, as well — Mary Kurek

I think what I would be looking for is self drive and passion. I try to surround myself with people who have the same motivation to achieve and succeed as I do. Sales and service skills can be taught, but candidates who have that inner drive to succeed will always be first on my list to work with. — Mia Porlaje

Finally: Chris’s Compatibility Test

I always looked for somebody with the skills we needed, and the personality to fit into the team well. I guess we must have done both well because most of the people I hired are still successful in their field, and many of us are still friends.

Believe it or not, this is the way we used to test for compatibility. We’d ask candidates if they could recite from any Monty Python movie or TV show, any Star Trek movie or TV show, or sing 60s rock and roll. We did accept one candidate who said she could only sing in German, and another who asked if we would substitute the X-files. Both worked out well.

The one who didn’t was a young man who clearly thought I was an escaped lunatic when I asked him this. It was his first “real” job out of college, and I assume this was the only tie he owned–because he was wearing a Winnie the Pooh necktie that I suppose his mother bought him for Sunday school or something–when he was 10. So I told him I’d accept it if he could tell me what was the most wonderful thing about tiggers. By this time he was nervously looking over his shoulder as if looking for an avenue of escape. But he did answer the question and we did hire him. He didn’t last very long.

It may have been goofy. But it seemed to work for us.
— Chris Finnie

Students: Do you have these traits? Can you demonstrate them during an interview?

Employers: Have you been lucky enough to find new people with these qualities?

Note re: video above – Fikre Tesfa, a student in a recent Business Communication class has stayed in touch with me to tell me that my predictions about him are paying off. He is now working with independent film producers.

One day we’ll see Fikre up on The Academy Award stage.

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   7 March 2010
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Mar 7, 2010
5:26 pm

The reason I put superb creativity first is that I believe that, ultimately, talent separates one enterprise from the next. Those with superb talent in any field also tend to be like dogs with a bone; they are committed to the project and the job — dedicated to making it the best it can be.

Reliability comes second because in some cases, superb talent can be, how shall I say, a bit flaky? To me the ideal combination is the talent of a Picasso without the instability.

I believe that true talent will have the attributes of follow-through and integrity, at least as far as the job is concerned. True talent CARES about perfection, about getting it right. Reward them and they will keep on doing what they do best.

Flexibility matters to me only in the sense that the potential employee could work equally well in a TV campaign as with bill stuffers and PowerPoints. Are they willing to do the scut jobs on their project as well as the “glamour” pieces? Are they willing to lend their creative thinking to corporate matters as well as marketing?

As far as having them for dinner? Maybe not with the kiddies, but I thoroughly enjoy true creatives at my table 🙂 They do tend to love debating the issues — something I find opens up the mind to even more creative thinking!

Author Mar 7, 2010
7:37 pm

Sara, if I were one of those recent grads, I think I’d like to find someone like you to work for — and have dinner with once in awhile.

Mar 7, 2010
5:48 pm
#3 Mary Kurek :

Thanks Shari for spreading the information around on what we all feel is important in the hiring process. People like you help us to define and redefine ourselves and our processes.

Author Mar 7, 2010
7:36 pm

Mary, I just added a new question to employers . . . Have you been lucky enough to hire people with these qualities?

Another thought, though, along these lines: So many job prospects are master interviewees, i.e., they’ve got great personalities and have done their homework, but when it gets time to actually perform, they may fall short.

In my business communications classes, we always take time to practice interviewing skills . . . but I’m certain that the interviewers need the right set of skills to separate the steak from the sizzle.

Mar 7, 2010
9:20 pm
#5 Fikre Tesfa :

Thank you Professor Shari. I really appreciate it for stretching my skills.

Author Mar 8, 2010
1:46 am

Here are more of the responses that came in later in the LinkedIn group discussion:

“Demonstrate to me that they really want to work, that they are passionate about what they do, and that they believe in themselves, the company, and the product or service.” — Gail Ruppe

“I want someone with the ability to tell a story. He/She also has to know how to think (because without reasoning skills, you’re only following directions.)” — Darla Stiegman

“I agree with passion and ability to think. Smart, engaged people can learn anything and will add to your organization. So turning this discussion around a bit and thinking like an application instead of a hiring manager, how do you get noticed so that you can show your attitude, drive, ability to think, etc.

This is especially the question when your qualifications do not exactly match the job specs. And yet we all seem to agree that it is the intangibles, especially in the cover letter/resume, pre-interview.” — Carrie Requist

“A sharp mind who understand your business, the market, competition, and the internal and external factors influencing it.” — Tracey Gordon

“One trait that I haven’t seen explicitly stated yet is Adaptability. In this world of accelerated change we live in today, any person that expects to have longevity needs to be able to adapt to a constantly changing environment (and be a change agent).

Following closely behind would be passion for their work, ability to work individually as well as in a team atmosphere, and, lastly, attitude.

For me, personal integrity and/or honesty are tablestakes (a given) . . . I’ve never hired a single person I didn’t believe was trustworthy, regardless of the skill set and credentials they brought with them.

Today’s workers want to be a part of the solution, not merely taking up space and getting lost in the shuffle. Applying personal values, along with a sense of accomplishment and belonging to a larger community are critical to young people today. It’s not about the vertical ascent anymore (for the most part), it’s about the experience, sharing it with others, adding value and association with the company from a community perspecitve” — Michael W. Cerkas, MS

Being able to self manage
Not being too demanding in the workplace
Lots of fun
Adaptable — I love that one Michael and surely agree — It’s a Darwinian workplace for sure!
Pays attention to detail on the things that matter and has the wisdom to know what they are
Tall order, eh?” — Cynthea Wellings

“Nowadays it is easy to hire good professional qualifications, such as proven experience, high level education, etc.

But for me, the main quality is to have Attitude.
Who has attitude, makes the things happen” — Glaucia Ximenes

Mar 8, 2010
2:17 am

What comes around – goes around and job applicants should recognize too, what an employer values is what he is likely prepared to reward in terms of bonuses, perks and career advancement.

Some of the attributes described above are simply toggle switches that can be turned on or off so are not of lasting value …. (passion? ….. adaptability? …. these are attitudes and behaviors that are specific to certain assignments and projects as in ‘passionate about….”)

But personal integrity is the foundation upon which everything is built and it can’t be taught though it is abundantly clear when it is demonstrated – example – Warren Buffet and how he describes the companies he invests in.

Author Mar 8, 2010
3:05 am

I agree 100%, John, that “Personal integrity is the foundation upon which everything is built.”
As a business educator, who continually discusses ethical behavior in my classes, I do hope that somewhere along the line, i.e. by parents, church, school, or community, “doing the right thing” can be taught — and learned.

Mar 10, 2010
10:33 pm
#9 LaMesha :

When it comes to interviews, I get very skeptical because of the fact that, no, I don’t have many hands-on skills.

I can only rely on the the education I was taught and that someone will give me a chance. Most companies now want 1-2 years experience and AA degrees. So for a person like me, why should I waste time going to an interview if I’m screwed before I even walk through the door

Mar 10, 2010
10:35 pm
#10 Isaac D. :

Honestly I would have not gone that far in a interview. I had many interviews in the past but not awkward like this one. For an interview, I must arrive early and look very professional. Mainly just look presentable to the person that is interviewing you and SPEAK CLEARLY AND LOOK AT HIM DIRECTLY IN THE FACE.

Mar 10, 2010
10:35 pm
#11 Jamilah Nottie :

I feel that you should be well groomed and well maintained when coming to an interview.

You shouldn’t have a “Winnie the Pooh neck tiie” on an interview. Interviews are the first impression, so you should give the best that you can give to impress the employer.

I always bring my pen and note-taking paper just in case I need to write something down. Just be prepared for what they have and always try to be at least two steps ahead to you won’t mess up in the interview.

If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.

Mar 10, 2010
10:35 pm
#12 Erin Petty :

I believe that it is necessary, when exercising hiring practices, to look for people who are self-driven, honest, hardworking and willing to always go the extra mile

Mar 10, 2010
10:37 pm
#13 Destry L. Cain-Dizadare :

I agree with #6 Gail Ruppe’s comment: if they really want to work.

I like an employee who can function independently and is willing to learn the employer.s business structure because most business are run differently.

But most importantly, an employee who gives their all in training and asks question if they don’t understand.

Mar 10, 2010
10:38 pm

I am in the position where I am involved in the hire and fire process.

As a manager at Starbuck’s in Safeway, we are currently looking to fill positions and can’t just get anybody. They have to have a flexible schedule and be great with the public. Their customer skills have to be there because the customers is number 1.

If customers are happy, then I am happy.

Mar 10, 2010
10:38 pm
#15 Keniard Bull :

I also agree with that Mrs. Weiss. Integrity and honesty are two elemnets that are essiential in life.

Mar 10, 2010
10:40 pm
#16 Yesi B. :

This is highly motivating advice to do well for the future. I am definitely reading this article again before any future interview.

Author Mar 11, 2010
11:33 pm
#17 Shari Weiss :

COOL that you feel that way, Yessi. That is EXACTLY why I published this particular article and why I wanted you all to read it. Thanks for the response.

Mar 10, 2010
10:41 pm
#18 Lawrence :

If I could hire someone I would want genuine enthusiasm and integrity.

As an employee myself, being able to smooze is second nature. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Most prospective employers want someone who is positive and cheerful and “a good fit”.

But will a good fit stay ten minutes extra to review the gross profit hold reports or process those extra five credit card transactions? Or will this good fit simply rush out the door at closing time? It’s easy to say what you are looking for but when it comes down to that final decision you have to be comfortable with the choice that you made and if you hired a “reliable chair warmer” as Cindy Smith stated, then you are stuck with person until you get tired and fire them, they quit or they leave under mysterious circumstances.

Author Mar 11, 2010
11:31 pm
#19 Shari Weiss :

Love the thought behind your comment. Reminds me of my feeling that often the “best interviewee” beats out the “best fit” for the organization and position.

Mar 10, 2010
10:42 pm
#20 Sulaymaan :

There are many personal assets one can bring to this table but tenacious-loyalty gets my vote. That which has been winning for me as outstanding. I have much of other mentioned traits, tools, virtues and such but never quitting and loyalty (till the end) has been my personal commitment and reward.

Mar 10, 2010
10:44 pm
#21 Luis Sanchez :

Quailities are in the eye of the beholder. Some I personally think are the most important include the following: punctuality, vision, and communication skills. These are qualities that I see people look for the most.

Mar 10, 2010
10:47 pm

The quality that I would look for in a future employee is to be prompt. Being on time shows you care and that you’re passionate about your job. It also shows that the future employee cares about keeping his/her job.

Mar 10, 2010
10:51 pm
#23 Nkrumah Zazaboi :

In hiring someone I’d be looking for someone who is flexible and has a great attitude towards work and others as well. I also agree that a person must have “adaptability” because you never know what’s going to hit you and sometimes quick decisions will have to be made.

Author Mar 11, 2010
11:21 pm
#24 Shari Weiss :

Yes, Nkrumah, when Quick Decisions have to be made, the CHARACTER of the person we shows itself.

Mar 10, 2010
10:52 pm

The most important qualities I would have to say are that they have a great attitude, so I would be able to rely on them.

They should be flexible so they can face an opposition in the right manner..

The biggest one of all is integrity because people admire those who act ethically and professionally. This is what we mean by true Character.

Mar 10, 2010
10:54 pm
#26 Evelyn :

A good job prospect:
Someone willing to learn new things and have a positive attitude.
A hard worker and who enjoys working and has no problem contributing ideas.
A person who is not afraid of failure but is able to get back on track.

Mar 10, 2010
11:14 pm
#27 kenneth :

I would hire a person who has prior experiences and has a genuine passion for the type of work.

I know it’s hard to tell if people are real about what they say, or if they’re just looking for a check. Because everyone is hard up for money, they’ll say anything to get a check coming in.

I work for myself, and I sometimes hire people to work for me. I have hired guys who didn’t do what they said they would or could. So I depend on myself to get the work done, and it also means I don’t have to split the money.

Mar 10, 2010
11:16 pm
#28 michael :

The wilingness to be devoted to the job, the feeling of bilongingness and dependablity are the very things for hiring aperson. But the most important thing is the love to you job. how deep you love your job. This can bring the obove mentioned things to happen.

Mar 14, 2010
2:33 am
#29 sulaymaan :

I would praise those who exemplify the same merit that I have found in myself, that someone must be dedicated, responsible (to a fault) and tenacious. The one that I would have trouble doing without and who I wish to have others just like that someone!

Jun 11, 2010
4:41 am

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

Author Jun 11, 2010
7:58 am
#31 Shari Weiss :

Please do drop iinto the conversation 🙂

Author Jun 11, 2010
7:59 am
#32 Shari Weiss :

Was there any piece of advice that particularly spoke to you?

Jun 22, 2010
11:28 am

What a great resource!

Aug 22, 2010
5:41 am

I still remember my first job interview. I was flat out honest about my situation and I made some obvious remark about the job which would have upset a careless HRM but my boss understood my point and I was in. I learned that from my father.

Author Aug 22, 2010
10:29 am
#35 Shari Weiss :

This reminds me of a story told my a newspaper editor who hired an applicant simply because she was “enterprising enough” to ask for a dictionary during a writing exercise. While many editors might have dismissed that applicant on the spot because he/she didn’t know how to spell. . . one never knows how someone will react.

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