The Responsibilities of Management Series, #2: Hire the Type of People You Want in Your Organization

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 17, Issue No. 11a
March 1, 2019

By Dan Coughlin


I believe there are four primary management responsibilities in any organization. They are:

  • People (attracting, selecting, placing, developing, and retaining the right employees for your organization; bench strength; culture; and teamwork)
  • Deciding and Doing (strategy, planning, and execution)
  • Value Positioning and Enhancement (branding and innovation)
  • On-Going Learning (industry knowledge and beyond industry insights)

Within the People Responsibility, the single most important aspect is bringing the type of people you want into your organization. This will have a significant impact on your bench strength, culture, and teamwork.

What Would You Do If Your Professional Future Depended on the Performance of the People You Hire?

I want to walk you through an imaginary situation. Imagine you have a friend who is a manager with 10 positions that report directly to her. Whomever your friend hires has to stay at that company for the next five years and cannot be fired, these new employees have to report to your friend for the whole five years, and your friend’s compensation and promotions are entirely dependent on the performance of the people she hires.

Your friend wants advice on what to do in this situation. What advice do you give?

My hunch is that you would advise your friend to be very careful and take very seriously the process of who is selected to work for her.

You might explain to your friend to clarify exactly what characteristics she wants from candidates in terms of experience and knowledge and ability to do the job, character strengths and values that fit within the company culture, passions that can be applied within the job to generate on-going enthusiasm for the work, and talents that can generate long-term success. You might also encourage your friend to make a list of the deal-killers, the things that would keep her from hiring a person or that would cause her to quickly fire a person.

Then you might talk with your friend about always being on the lookout for these types of people in any situation.

Then you might encourage your friend to develop interview questions, role plays, and case studies that she could use during the interview process to help determine if the person is the type of person she wants in the company. You might also recommend some testing tools that can help her understand the candidate better.

When your friend is debriefing with other people who have interviewed the candidate, you might encourage her to focus the debrief conversations on the actual characteristics that you are looking for in the people you hire. It’s not whether or not an interviewer likes the candidate. The more important discussion is around what the interviewer found out about the candidate in terms of the characteristics you want in the people you hire.

Here are series of steps I encourage you to think through and write down your answers to regarding hiring for a specific position in your company.

Attract and Hire Talent, 4 Questions to Consider:

    1. What characteristics do you want in the people you hire into your organization?Three categories:
      1. Experience, Knowledge, Technical Ability Can they do the job they are being hired for, or can they learn the job they are being hired for?What experience should the person have?What should the person know?

        What skills should the person have developed, or have the ability to learn reasonably quickly?

      2. Character Strengths and Values – Will they enhance the culture over the long term?

        “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
        John Wooden, UCLA, former head basketball coach

        What character strengths are you looking for in your employees?

        Values are what a person believes to be so important that it drives his or her behaviors on a consistent basis.

        What values are you looking for in the people you hire?

      3. Passions and Talents – Will they be a good long-term performer for the organization?Passions are what fuel a person and energize the person to give his or her best effort.What passions are you looking for in the people you hire?Talents are what a person does better than anything else he or she does. This is not in comparison to other people. They don’t have to be world-class.

        What talents are you looking for in the people you hire?

    2. What are the deal killers?What about a person would keep the person from being hired, or would get the person fired quickly?


  1. Where can we find these people?
    1. What has worked in the past?
    2. What else can we do?
    3. As you meet people keep a file on each person who could possibly work for your organization. Jot down notes regarding the three categories in Section One for each person.
  2. What can we do to determine if this person should be in our organization and would be a good cultural fit?
      1. Develop customized interview questions, role plays, and case studies to use with the candidate.Take each characteristic (experience, knowledge, technical ability, character strengths, values, passions and talents) that you are looking for in the people you hire, and develop an interview question, role play, or case study that you can use in the interview process to help you determine if the person has what you are looking for.
      2. Develop questions to ask of references to help you determine if the person has the characteristics you want in the people you hire.


    1. Use non-customized testing tools to gain additional insights into how the person is hard-wired. (Gallup Strengths Finders,, DISC, etc.)
      Gallup Strengths Finder is not a free test. It will help you to understand the candidate’s character strengths, passions, talents, and values.Here are four fairly quick free tests for the candidate to take to help you understand the candidate better:

        1. Go to is about the person’s temperament, which is what he or she is naturally inclined to do in most situations.This also explains how the person processes ideas as an introvert or extrovert.
        2. Go to

      Then go down to VIA Survey of Character Strengths. Then go over to Take Test. You will have to register for free. This is about your three main signature strengths. (Also in the book, Authentic Happiness, by Dr. Martin Seligman.

    2. Go to and take the Free DISC AssessmentThis is about how people make decisions.
    3. Go to and enter the code: AnyPersonMindset for a free assessment.This is about how you communicate most effectively with other people. It is based on the book, How the World Sees You, by Sally Hogshead.

Final Thought

This is really not an imaginary situation about an imaginary friend. This is a very real situation about you. If you are a manager who is responsible for producing results, you are responsible for the people you bring into your organization. This is the single most important thing you can do to impact the short-term and long-term success of your business. I encourage you to take it very seriously. Don’t pass this work off to someone else.

Remember: your compensation and your future promotions are completely dependent on the quality of the people you hire today. Clearly decide on the type of people you want in your organization, clarify what you will ask the candidate to help you understand the person better, and then be very intentional about the type of people you bring into your organization.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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