When I meet people, I generally categorize them into three groups: Those that I avoid, those that I would invite to join me on my deck, and those that I would hire. One of the mistakes a lot of companies make is to hire people from the second group. A person can be friendly and enjoyable and fun on my deck, but that doesn’t make him/her a good employee for my company.

The first step in finding the perfect employee is to honestly understand how your organization functions. As a consultant, I visit 4-5 different companies in various industries each week. They have vastly different cultures, markets, sense of urgencies, and hiring needs. What might be a great candidate for one employer could be a complete failure for another.

For example, I’m a high energy, creative, type A personality that is most productive prior to 10:00 a.m. If you are looking for a lot of change in a short period of time with some out of the box ideas, someone with my personality might be a great hire. However, if your organization is heavily bureaucratic, that decision would be a disaster.

When you design your selection process, take a good look at the skills required, the personality and the culture. Can your organization tolerate an HR guy that’s hyperactive at 6:00 a.m. or a great salesperson who doesn’t have the detail orientation to fill out an expense report but can sell like crazy? Some can, some can’t.

Don’t settle for what you think is the ideal employee. Take the time to complete a job analysis to truly and honestly understand what works and what doesn’t before you bring someone on board. You’ll hear the “hire for talent” or “hire for skill” mantra, but when we design selection systems, we don’t settle for one or the other and you shouldn’t either. Instead, profile the entire job and candidate. If you know what the ideal candidate looks like from all aspects, you’re much more likely to find what you want and need. If you don’t you just might find yourself with an energetic HR guy on your doorstep at 6:00 a.m.

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