One of the most challenging and important decisions facing any business executive is hiring new employees who will help your company succeed. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs adhered to that belief so strongly that, according to former Apple executive Jay Elliot in his book “Leading Apple with Steve Jobs,” he personally interviewed over 5,000 applicants during his career.

We share that belief at EVR. New hires are the most important decisions we make. We follow a few basic absolutes that we believe will help us add new employees who will not only thrive within our organization, but push us to greater heights. We consider it a blueprint for building a winning team.

Who’s on your team? Consider yourself the chief scout, general manager and head coach, all rolled into a single leader who is tasked with constructing a winner.

Successful people share many characteristics. Talent and the ability to use that talent are necessary, but no trait is more important than commitment. Take the time to find out if your candidate is serious about the position you need to fill and is in it for the long term. People are the most important assets of any organization, so look for individuals who exhibit potential for growth within your company and have the motivation to succeed.

Gino Wickman’s best-selling business productivity book “Traction” outlines a philosophy of GWC (Get It, Want It and the Capacity to Do It). Simply put, if you want your business to reach the next level, you need people on your team who:

  • Get It – understand their role and the company culture
  • Want It – genuinely like his or her job, taking the time to recognize and take responsibility for their role
  • Have the Capacity to Do It – owning the knowledge along with the physical and emotional capacity to do the job.

Evaluating an individual’s GWC before making a hire can ensure you add someone to the team who fits with your company’s culture of values and expectations.

If given the choice, go for talent and potential over track record. While this may seem counterintuitive to some, I disagree. If you are sure that your organization is headed in one direction and one direction only, then go ahead and hire the candidate who has proven success moving forward in one lane. But, if you want to be prepared to adapt to ever-changing landscapes and meet not yet defined challenges, you need to zig and zag when needed, and you better have people with a variety of skills to move with you.

I always prefer to hire someone with the largest upside or potential, with the idea of elevating current employees to higher levels of responsibility and leadership. The benefits of promoting from within are proven.

When you promote from within you send a clear message to your entire organization that good work is both recognized and rewarded. You can also move forward with confidence, knowing that your employee fits within your organization, works well with your team, and understands your company and your clients inside and out. Additionally, you are able to avoid spending precious time and resources on recruiting.

Recognizing and developing talent is a key to sustained organizational success. Make sure your team members know that they are working with you, not for you.

Simply put, good leaders make other good leaders. If your leadership team invests in teaching, mentoring, directing and coaching employees, your organization will be rewarded with employee loyalty, increased performance and productivity and, here it is again, commitment.