Wish you had a crystal ball for hiring? This might be your close second. 

Questionable character costs money. When new hires don’t possess character, businesses and nonprofits lose billions of dollars every year. Yet many leaders continue to rely on impressions and assumptions based on an applicant’s behavior during the interview process. Or they make hiring decisions that hinge on a murky grasp of what this quality really means.

If you feel as if vetting someone’s character might be too much of a hassle, my experience is just the opposite; it’s worth the effort. And if you’re worried that examining character might offend your applicant, it actually sends a message that you care about who represents the organization, which often makes the position more desirable, boosts retention, and generates qualified referrals from great employees.

Author Bruce Weinstein explores what makes employees great in his book The Good Ones: Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees. According to his research, your best employees have ten qualities that amount to character: 

  1. Honesty
  2. Accountability
  3. Care
  4. Courage
  5. Fairness
  6. Gratitude
  7. Humility
  8. Loyalty
  9. Patience
  10. Presence

If your list extends beyond Weinstein’s helpful exploration, how do you identify the behaviors that contribute to something specific you’re looking for, such as the ability to sell or manage multiple priorities? One of my clients, Michael Manglardi with Diadem Sports, has been solving this exact challenge over the last few years as they are building a sales team for their new product line. 

Since I’ve been using the Axiometrics version of the Hartman Value Profile for nearly three decades, I’m in the position to address this dilemma regularly with my clients. Michael and I caught up recently to reflect on how my engagement helped the company. Here’s an excerpt regarding what he appreciates most about using this tool:

Michael recalls that it was “almost scary how exactly spot on these [Hartman Value Profile] reports were.” He and his team not only used them for all their hiring, but they also applied the HVP practices to their management selection process. Michael added that once they’ve hired someone who completed the profile, the employee’s profile results have played out consistently over time so he can anticipate how to manage someone more efficiently and effectively. 

Jeff Roschman, owner of Diadem Sports, likes to say, “The number-one reason you hire Jim is that you don’t want to fire anyone.” Jeff’s comment hits home because we all know what a painful and costly process making the wrong decision can be. During the time that Diadem has been working with me and the Hartman Value Profile, I was thrilled to hear Michael report that their sales have increased fifteenfold.

I’ve written a chapter about recruiting for character in my latest book, Onboarding Champions. The chapter begins with this line: “Character is who we are behind our social masks and what shows up when the pressure is on.” Consider investing in your future by discovering what may show up when the pressure is on before you make your hiring decisions.

If you’d like to learn more about the Hartman Value Profile and how you might use it for your hiring or management practices, visit my website or reach out directly to me. 

AUTHOR - James Mueller

Jim Mueller is president of James Mueller & Associates LLC (JMA), a national consulting firm that provides services in the areas of organizational development, governance, and philanthropy. Follow Jim on LinkedIn.