The Key to Hiring the Right Candidate

Why DNA matters more than a great skill-set

There’s nobility in “leaving well”

Many times, I’ve wondered — even joked about — the possibility of firing everybody, and then hiring back those that leave well. A REALLY true manifestation of DNA is usually manifested in the moment one must depart.

1. Loyalty

I have very few memories of my father, as he left home when I was 12. But what I do remember was, one day, me grumbling and mumbling relative to Mr. So-and-So next door who had employed me to do some yard work. I came home after what seemed to be a hard days work (probably only a couple of hours), complaining about the neighbor and how difficult he was to work for, and what he having me do.

2. DNA

It really is all about DNA: What someone is, or rather in the process of becoming. It is key. Skills and technical ability can be learned, augmented, and refined. DNA is very hard to “teach.” So, look for and treasure when you find it, good DNA. Both as an employer when you’ve found it in an employee, and as an employee when you’ve found it in an employer.

3. Avoid clichés

The old “hire slow, fire fast,” or, “cut out the bottom 10% each year” type of cliché thinking rarely applies. These may be fine in the context they were used or designed, but when generally applied, as with most things, they become problematic. Rather than hire fast, or slow, or medium, I would you say hire right. Define what right is for you, include a good portion of DNA, and then hire the right person.

When you don’t set up the expectations, you leave too much up in the air.

As to the case-in-point that brought this to a blindingly obvious position for me, let me just rehearse the following: We hired an individual for a fairly senior role. In retrospect, maybe I didn’t make the expectations and the key deliverables clear enough. I didn’t defer to my three-stage job description:



Chairman and CEO, Webber Investments. Partner at Idea Booth/BGO.

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Aaron Webber

Chairman and CEO, Webber Investments. Partner at Idea Booth/BGO.