One Thing Leaders Can Do To Hire Well

Seven. Seven candidates could do the job. I felt a strong connection with more than one candidate during the interview process. Which one do I select?

In a previous post (https://www.withleadership.co/post/how-to-hire-the-best-people) I shared why I choose to hire for character over experience. The problem is I’ve been wrong on character reads before - painfully wrong. How do I know I’m hiring someone with a truly good character?

Here’s an indisputable fact: we estimate character by that which we are capable of appreciating.

In other words, it is only through growing our own character that we can recognize the depth of quality in other’s character.

Extrapolating further, you can only make good hiring decisions (or any decision requiring analysis of relationship quality) to the degree in which you grow the quality of your own character.

This means my poor character reads are because my character isn’t strong enough to perceive the truth. Ouch.

The good news is character can be improved. Even small increments of growth add up over time.

That all sounds good, but how is character built? It boils down to one very hard but necessary thing: self control.


Here’s the backwards mastering of how character depends on self control:

  1. Character is built over time through good habits.

  2. Good habits are built through consistently good decisions.

  3. Good decisions are discovered in hindsight after making bad decisions.

  4. Persisting through enough bad decisions to learn the good decisions requires patience.

  5. Patience necessitates time and delay.

  6. Delay means waiting and being still, even when you ache to make a move.

  7. Waiting requires self control.

The foundation is self control. Unfortunately, in today’s instant gratification, Amazon ordering, Insta-cart society self control is rapidly declining.

On the positive side, it is possible to grow self control through practice.

For an example, pick a flat side in your life - one area that niggles you - then decide the needed change and start implementing small changes.

Here’s a practical example. Let’s say you want to stop interrupting people. Here are two simple steps to build patience, which allows for decisions (hopefully more good than bad), and builds self control:

  • Put “wait to speak until people complete their thought” on a sticky note, calendar reminder, or wherever you will see or hear it every day. Consistent cues will help your brain to decide how to go about your day.

  • Determine what you will do when you interrupt someone. It is important to include at least two aspects: (1) acknowledgement and (2) accountability. This could sound something like, “I’m sorry - I cut you off and I’m trying to break that bad behavior. Please continue.”

Repeat daily. Eventually there will be multiple days in a row that pass without a single interruption.

And then one day you will realize you no longer are an interrupter.

Because you will have self control in that area.


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