Saturday, July 9, 2011

Many future problems can be circumvented if you select the right employees. Good selection is more than merely picking the right person, but rather knowing what you are looking for from a skills & abilities standpoint and traits & attributes standpoint. Skills and abilities can often be seen on a resume or application, but personal attributes, traits and character cannot be seen and are more elusive. Many employers and experts think these elusive traits are more important. How can these elusive qualities be assessed in the hiring process?

In a modern environment, employees can tap a multitude of resources in assessing traits that are not obvious from reading a college transcript or resume application. A good selection not only takes into consideration skills and attributes, such as a B.S. in Computer Engineering with extensive Java programming knowledge, but also must take into consideration values such as emotional stability and motivation. It is for this reason oftentimes employers will choose applicants who were involved in team sports over a similar applicant who was not.

Team sport is something which of course requires teamwork, and a sense of motivation. An important characteristic to look for when hiring new employees is employee confidence. As Barrick and Zimmerman (2009) put it:

"Employees with higher confidence will be more persistent in striving to adapt to novel job demands or the work setting and will be less likely to withdraw from work because of anxiety over low performance or ineffective adjustment." (pg. 186)

From personal experience, I find that many hiring professionals will use new technologies to determine these aspects of potential hires. Facebook, which is a popular site for sharing personal experiences and showing off to the world, is also a great place to check out what kind life this potential employee is living. It is for this purpose that many clever college students (myself included) will remove anything from their Facebook profile or photo albums that may keep them from getting a job.

Employee referral is a powerful tool as new employees hired on through this method will have social support early on, and usually will be more confident (pg. 189). Employees who have the confidence to refer someone else will most likely think twice before suggesting someone they know is unfit for the position.


Barrick, M. R., & Zimmerman, R. D. (2009). Hiring for retention and performance. Human Resource Management, 48(2), 183-206.

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