Can they do the job ?
If they can’t, it becomes clear pretty quickly. But some people require too much investment; for example when the person’s manager and teammates have to ante up seven ergs of energy to get five ergs of product back. Worse, others do a just-good-enough-to-lose job.
So the real question becomes “Can they do the job the way we need it done – at a championship level ?”
- Have they performed at that level before ?
- What are their drives to excel ?
- Do they understand some of the reasons for their own successes and failures ?
- Are they still adjusting, learning and humble ?
Predicting stardom is tougher that predicting mediocrity. But it pays off.
Will they add or subtract to team chemistry ?
The team can usually predict this with decent accuracy. The toughest call is when everyone except one person are positive about the candidate but that one person is strongly and doggedly negative. Well-constructed teams, though, do tend to assess candidate’s personalities in similar ways. They share value systems and perception biases.
A team of solid B players working together smoothly will usually outperform a team of bickering, feuding As. Obviously a mix is best: a few bell-cow As and a herd of strong B followers.
So clearly you do not want to introduce a destabilizer into a delicate stew of personalities !
Do they want to do this job ?
A strong candidate should always talk about what they like about the job and why. Repeatedly. They should convince you that they really want it and will bust ass if they get it.
If they have not done this by decision-making time, they should not get a job offer. Coyness, holding back and indecision are the enemies. The candidate must ask for the work.
Will they do the job ?
Hardest to assess.
Sometimes the person can do the job and wants to do it, but is prevented by illness, death, divorce, mental, emotional or legal issues. No one can reliably predict this. If the candidate shows abnormal stress or is on a luck-defying losing streak, these may be leading indicators.
Some people choke. They have the tools but can’t perform on the field. Make sure that they can show up on time, fully-dressed and reasonably sober to a few meetings. Throw ‘em a gentle curve and see how they react. Try before you buy.