8 Ways to Assess the Success Potential of Your Next Hire

8 Ways to Assess Success Potential of your Next Hire

If you believe what is said and published in the business world, you understand there are baseline differences between successful people and those who lack success potential. These success indicators have been outlined by MaryEllen Tribby in The Huffington Post blog.

So, how do you determine if someone has what it takes before you hire them?

With a combination of assessment and behavioral interviewing, you will stand a better than average chance of determining the success potential of your next hire.

Here are the top eight areas to determine success potential during your next interview:

  1. Is the candidate complimentary and gracious?
    Note whether the candidate compliments the company, you or your coworkers. Also, note how they receive a compliment. This is easily done when you ask them about a victory they experienced in a past work scenario. Make sure you ask for an example (behavioral based questions give you a solid predictor of future behavior) and then follow up to get even more detail. After they have explained fully the victory, tell them you are impressed and note how they respond. Is the candidate receptive to the praise yet gracious in the response? This leads into the next assessment to make.
  1. Do they give other members of the team credit and want others to succeed?
    When you ask the question above about victories, listen for how others are referenced. Did the candidate say that others were hurdles in their victories (bad) or do they give compliments to the others (good) who contributed to the victory? If they mention no one else, you are either talking with a lone wolf or someone who won’t be successful. Consider a follow up question regarding their interpretation of a coworker getting promoted. Ask for an example and how they felt about it.
  1. Do they share information and discuss ideas?
    This topic can be unveiled with questions about the culture of their previous job. Ask them to explain it to you then follow up by asking how they contributed to it. You can also ask them what they did when they last had a good idea. Be sure, again, to direct the question in such a way to elicit past behavior. For instance, “tell me about a time that you had a great idea at work and what you did about it.” Follow up by asking how others responded and ultimately what happened with the idea. Alternately, you can ask how they respond when they hear about an idea. Follow up by asking what they did when they had information that would help with someone else’s idea.
  1. How do they respond to change?
    The reality is, there is change all the time in business. Companies constantly need to monitor, measure and react to information that will help promote and improve the quality of products and services. If someone doesn’t deal well with change, they can’t be successful at work. Ask the candidate to tell you about a big change at a company they worked for in the past. If they say something like, “the company closed and I was laid off,” restructure the question to ask about a change in which they had to adjust at work and how it affected them.
  1. Do they read daily and want to keep learning?
    Ask about the last bit of reading they did and why they read it. Follow up asking what they got out of reading it and if it spurred ideas or a desire to learn further about the topic.
  1. Do they plan future goals and map out projects?
    An oldie but goodie: Ask the candidate where they see themselves in five years. People may expect this one but that’s ok because it is indicative of a planner! Next, ask them about the last project they handled and what processes were involved. Make sure to redirect if they don’t talk about a specific project, help them get to the behavioral-based answer.
  1. Make sure to get behavioral-based answers to your questions.
    If any of the answers you receive do not exemplify past behavior, probe deeper. Explain that you are looking for real life examples that the candidate experienced and what happened. Let them know you want to hear their story and learn about their experiences at work. Ask for examples versus generalities.
  1. Is the candidate happy and supportive of others?
    Listen for factors that point to whether the candidate seems joyful, forgiving, flexible, and supportive. Consider using a rating scale that delivers a score in these areas. Rate each candidate immediately after the interview.


Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a human resources consultant and founder of HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth. Subscribe to HR Tips for more human resources news and tips.

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