When asked what they are looking for in a new employee, most people respond with a few skills and a personality trait or two. At most, they are looking for five things.  

Truthfully, if those looking for these few skills and traits actually assessed each candidate with rigor, they’d hire better than in the past. But they don’t. They sit down with a candidate with no prepared questions, no set process to engage with the candidate against, no idea of how this candidate will fit in with the rest of the team, and they free form an interview trusting in their intuition. 

The secret is to be looking for at least 12 attributes in a candidate. They fit into these four categories:

  • The core values of your company
  • The way successful work gets done in your company
  • The critical skills the person for your open position needs to successfully hold
  • The needed personality traits in a person for the work to get done well 

Your Culture Fit  

The first two categories above are your culture. Thinking of your culture in this way will make it actionable. As a recent entrepreneur exclaimed on hearing about this, “Holy Crap! These should drive how we market, sell, lead, and innovate… Not just how we hire!” 


Attributes 1 -3 – Identify three core values that drive you and your employee’s decisions, and your actions. Some people think about Integrity as a core value. We call that a given in our work. Go for what really drives you in your work. Something like:

  • Disruption – leading the industry in taking better care of our customer’s needs
  • Commitment to Others – feeling deeply responsible for our community and planet
  • Second-Level Thinking – Awareness, flexibility, and open-mindedness, especially in times of change.

Attributes 4 – 6 – Identify three qualities your team holds fast when working with one another and their clients to get consistently great results. Sure you can say collaborate but again, that’s a given. Go for what really makes it work. Something like:

  • Diverse Thinking – The team actively seeks a different perspective on everything.
  • Learning Driven – Want to learn new things that are applicable to the situation.
  • High Throttle – Passionate and excited about hard work.

Imagine if you were truly looking for and finding evidence that a candidate had these qualities every time you engaged with them. 

A Candidate Fit 

The last two categories are the specifics of what you are looking for in a candidate’s abilities and ways of being. These components need to be encompassed by the candidate and apply to the skills and traits needed to perform successfully in the position you’ve outlined. People who are responsible for hiring sometimes have this mostly developed. Imagine the position you are hiring for is an executive assistant. 

Attributes 7 – 9 – Identify the critical skills YOU need in this role.  Executive assistant skills are specific to the person they are supporting, right? It might look something like this:

  • Tech Savvy – Has an ability to quickly figure out basic functions of software and devices.
  • GMail Proficient – Capable of higher order commands in creation and change.
  • Skilled Communicator – Writes, speaks, and otherwise communicates with tact, grace, and effectiveness

Attributes 10 – 12 – Identify the personality traits that will enable an individual to be successful.

  • Bright and Brief  – Positive disposition and gets to the point of what needs to be communicated.
  • Proactive – Stays on top of self and situations.
  • Confident – Self assured, doesn’t take things personally, and low to no response drama.

Your Right Fit Rubric

A significantly more effective hiring campaign than the one you use now would have everyone on the hiring team looking for the same things. You may have noticed that after each one of the attributes there is a description of what the attribute means to the team. This is what we call a “shared narrative”. To get better as a team, sharing the same definition of the attributes will get you much closer. 

Your right fit rubric should include these things:

  • The attribute, short and sweet, one or two words
  • The shared narrative of what each one of those attributes mean to your team
  • A few observable behaviors if they actually held the attribute (get your team ready to spot a great candidate)

Coordinating Your Hiring Team

How will you get your team all on the same page about your culture and the skills you are looking for?

How will you ensure that your core values are being modeled by those on your hiring team? 

Get better at hiring for yourself; we are here to help.


Miche Rayment is the Founder and CEO of The Hire Effect™. The Hire Effect clients learn how to identify, organize, and get the most out of their Unconventional Hiring Teams. TheHireEffect.com