How to Make a Successful Hire

The 3 C’s of Successful Hiring

Interviewing and hiring is often a very stressful experience for business owners. This is one key reason that every business, no matter how small, should develop an effective process for interviewing and hiring to make a successful hire.

I’ve heard many horror stories from business owners about bad hires. At best, they consume precious time and resources. At worst, you may find yourself in court.

There are several facets to an effective hiring system but let me share one tip that may be a game-changer for you. Here’s the tip: Always interview and hire based on the 3 C’s.


The first thing you should look for when interviewing candidates is character. Character can mean a lot of things but what I focus on are these five character qualities:

  1. Honesty – Do they tell the truth? Ask experience-based, behavioral questions to get a feel for their honesty and transparency. Also, create key questions for references to verify the candidate’s honesty.
  2. Integrity – Some people equate this to honesty, but I think of integrity differently. I see integrity as keeping your commitments or doing what you say you’ll do. Early in the interview process, I ask questions to get a feel for their integrity.
  3. Work Ethic – I ask specific questions about their current (or most recent) role to get a feel for their work ethic. I also ask questions about their work history, even from their adolescent years, to get a sense of their work ethic.
  4. Empathy/Compassion – I’m looking for productive, responsible people. Still, I’m also looking for candidates who demonstrate kindness, care, and empathy for their colleagues, their customers, and even their past supervisors.
  5. Humility – Can they talk about lessons learned from previous struggles or failures? Are they willing to lift others up and champion other team members? When I find someone with self-confidence AND humility, I know I’ve found a gem.

Character is a gate. If someone has a stellar resume and obvious competence but lacks character, BEWARE! Character cannot be trained (at least not in short order.) They either have it, or they don’t. Don’t gamble here. Make sure your candidate has character before moving forward in the interview and hiring process.


The second thing you should look for is compatibility. Sometimes people call this chemistry. As you interview, envision this person working alongside you and others in the company. Are they a good fit for YOUR company? Hopefully, you have identified your company’s core values so you can evaluate the candidate based on your core values.

They should resonate with your values and be able to identify past experiences where they have demonstrated or aspired to these values in previous roles. They don’t have to be a perfect fit, but they should be a very close fit.

And they should not have friction with any of your values; if you have any questions regarding their fit, pause!


The final thing you should look for is competency. Again, you should ask behavioral questions about their past experiences to develop an informed opinion about how they will behave in the role you have. Generally, it is best to avoid hypothetical questions. This type of questioning only confirms that they can tell you what you want to hear.

These answers are NOT good predictors of how an individual will behave on the job. To find these three C’s, you should have a predetermined interview questionnaire and process.

Document your questions and your process, and follow them every time you hire. Tweak it and improve it as you go. Don’t think you have to have it down perfectly before you start.

One of my clients likes to say, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly in the beginning.” He knows that you must get started first. Then you can improve over time.

Most importantly, document your process and improvements so you don’t recreate the wheel every time you need to hire someone. There is a lot more to be said about interviewing and the hiring process.

But if you will start by focusing on these three C’s you will be well on your way to making a good hire. If you want someone to help you build a powerful and efficient hiring and development process, contact us and let’s have a conversation.

Glenn Smith is a sought-after Executive Coach with over two decades of experience. Recognized for his strategic insights and leadership training, Glenn has been a guiding force for more than a hundred successful small to mid-sized businesses. Merging data-driven strategies with profound insights into human behavior, he aids business owners and executives in realizing their fullest potential. A respected thought leader, Glenn has contributed to numerous business publications and is a popular keynote speaker. Outside his professional realm, Glenn cherishes family time and outdoor activities. He is a pilot with over 30 years of flight experience. He is also a professionally trained gunsmith and a firearms instructor. His dedication to fostering leadership and driving transformative change marks him as a premier figure in executive coaching.



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