6 Essentials for Spotting High Performance during Recruitment

Spotting high performance potential in new recruits is one of the big challenges facing any recruiter.

We write here a lot about teamwork, leadership and using technology and good common sense to streamline, optimize and tweak out any organization. That’s what “nimble” means after all.

Spotting High Performance Matters

But the recruitment process is different. Short of divination, you’ve got to have a solid method, down, for knowing what to look for.  These are some of the top tips we’ve garnered from the Human Resources pros we’re working with every day. In part, we’ve used them to make sure that NimbleSchedule is only hiring and working with the very top performers in each of their respective fields.

1) Hire Weird

This is the real stand-out in our list. Top performers are different. They’re people and they have  only their own relationship with the world. It’s the conformists and the normal people who want to hide. Top performers stand out and it may not always be for what you expect. Check their skills, but more importantly, be open to who (and what) came in the door.  It may be a top performer who can’t quite handle the fashion standards or the social norms. Get used to them.

2) Hire Goals

Top Performers know where they want to go. Short-term goals are telling, and they should be stated, focused and clear. Long-term goals should be big, even outlandish, but stated with confidence and certainty. Doubts when it comes to goals are OK, but there should be a readily apparent eagerness.

3) Check the Paper Trail

Spotting Top Performance means checking the clues they leave. Top of their High School Class is always a good thing. What they’ve done since then is OK, but is it really just a bunch of bluster? Your star team player is going to have some history of success, but the real world is a tough place. Look for academic success and depending on their level and years of experience, some outstanding successes. There’s always something in there, and the weird, goal-oriented shining stars are always happy to brag on paper.

4) Critical Thinking

Let your star player get into trouble later. During the recruitment process, you do want an ambitious, critical and analytical understanding of the entire environment. That doesn’t mean negativity. But a star performer can talk frankly about what went wrong in the past and what could have been done differently to achieve better results. Ambitious people tend to be perfectionists and gaining the upper hand often means learning to work, critically, with established norms and standards, and improving them.

5. Look for the Ridiculously Busy

Good time management is crucial, and, truth be told, it’s the only way to be a high performer. In some cases, you’ll be asking people to drop projects to come on board. In other cases, you’ll want people who maintain a lot of outside work just the same. Both situations are good signs that you’re talking to someone who is working at the top of their game, and doing it successfully.

6) Understand Attitude

A list of good hypothetical situations is good. But this is your basic one: “There is never a finish to ‘work,’ what do you do?” Star performers work for the work, it’s not only what they like, but what they live for. An end to work would be not only catastrophic, but it sometimes is. Notice how quickly and well they can think of a reasonable and productive solution to each of your hypotheticals and keep in mind that some true weird stars will really be thinking about it.

We’d love to hear your tips below for locating and pinpointing the best and the brightest. Please let us know your very best couple of recruitment tips in the comments space below.

Photo this Page: FIAT 500L gear shift © Wikimedia Commons by Petar Milošević

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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