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How to Hire Exceptional Talent

What does it take to hire exceptional talent? How do you know what intangible skills to look for in a candidate? What red flags should you look out for in an interview?

Hiring the right team can quickly become mission critical. Identifying exceptional talent requires practice, a strategic focus, and insightful questions. Your entire team, from entry-level employees to executives, will empower your organization to achieve your mission and succeed. 

Group of diverse office workers with hands crossed smiling

How Do You Identify Exceptional Talent?

Look for candidates who are highly responsive and engaged. View the interview as a first date and a candidate’s best first impression. Are they reliable? Dependable? Respectful? Appropriate? Genuinely interested? These are the simplest signs to look for. 

During the interview process, top talent will show up prepared and on time, dressed appropriately, and ask thought-provoking questions. They will research the role, company and interviewer ahead of the meeting. They are strong communicators, demonstrating during the interview that they listen well and can alter the discussion based on the interviewer’s responses. They bring more than what’s in the job description; they inspire you to think differently and view scenarios from a different lens. The best talent will exemplify knowledge, confidence and interest by driving the interview for the recruiter and asking about next steps.

Do You Prioritize IQ or EI in Potential Candidates?

It depends on the role. Individual contributors who work in silos need a strong IQ as their role requires limited teamwork or collaboration. Positions based solely on skillset, such as contract roles, heavier IQ than emotional intelligence (EI) to succeed. On the other hand, roles that require effective interpersonal communication skills, collaboration and more intangible skills need a higher EI. For example, consider an entry-level outside sales canvassing job. To knock doors, being personable, reading body language, and having a high level of emotional intelligence is the key component to success. 

Overall, most jobs require both IQ & EI to reach success. It’s important to identify talent with strengths in both, weighting the importance of each based upon the role.

What “Red Flags” Present Themselves During Interviews?

Some of the most common red flags fall into one of two categories: scheduling and communication. 

Candidates who are late, don’t confirm interview attendance, or require constant rescheduling are showing you a lack of interest in the career opportunity. This interview is not a priority to them.

Candidates who make excuses, are distracted, can’t explain gaps in employment or reasons for leaving previous jobs, or show poor listening skills will likely struggle in communication with your organization. 

Beyond these two common indicators, leaning in heavily on behavioral-based interviewing can help predict a potential new hire’s future performance. Peel away the onion by asking multiple follow-up questions, genuinely seeking to understand their response. Listen carefully and if something doesn’t sound exactly right, dig in deeper with more open-ended questions. Strong, experienced recruiters have mastered this critical interview technique.

How is 360 Talent Avenue Different from Other Recruiting Agencies?

Our mission is to connect businesses with exceptional talent so that our clients can focus on running their business. We are a true partner. 

At 360, the intake session starts well before a contract is signed with our clients. We seek first to understand company and departmental goals, the organization’s unique perks and challenges, as well as the specific roles and responsibilities of the job. We ask questions. We listen with empathy and curiosity. We must feel confident that we’re the best solution for the organization before agreeing to take on the search. Integrity is first.

Then we’re off to the races as our client’s professional career match-making service. We’ll follow similar lines of questioning with our candidates to ensure the open role is what they are seeking long term. We are efficient and effective, persevering until the very end when the right candidate is hired for our client. We are experienced, strategic thinkers, and we are passionate about providing thoughtful recommendations designed with the end goal of success.

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