Spotting the winner

Submitted by on the 17th of February 2012

Cerebra is an established communication agency specialising in both PR and Social Media. Cerebra’s assets and resources, like many other businesses, is its people, and Cerebra sure knows how to pick them. We pride ourselves on the talent within this company, and our proud “fathers” – Mike and Craig – constantly promote their “children”.

So how do you hire the right people for your business? Is there a formula? Maybe, but it takes years of experience to identify “the one”. Also knowing exactly what you want (and don’t want) helps immensely. Here’s a bit of inside info and know-how on “spotting the winner”.

Culture fit

You cannot simply expect a prospective employee to automatically fit into your company culture. However, be mindful that the individual may have the potential to bring something uniquely positive to the environment and build on the existing culture. It is all about being able to spot and be perceptive to this person’s attitude and responses. This is strongly tied to a positive outlook and optimistic problem solving capabilities.

Positive outlook, problem solving & energy – spot the sloth

When firing off with your 20 questions during an interview, the way in which this person responds – both at a personal and professional level – gives the interviewer insight into how they would deal with curve balls, stressful situations and tight deadlines. If they are eager and willing to tackle these head-on, find solutions on the spot and even suggest creative and interesting ideas with gusto, delve deeper. Compare this to someone you may be interviewing, even if they don’t have all the answers, if they mumble, slouch in their chair and if their attention drifts off to the point where you need to repeat yourself – instant #fail. You don’t want a “sloth” crawling around your office at the mental and physical speed of a slug, bringing down the energy and productivity of everyone around them.

Then again, Cerebra’s owned media and content is generated and posted for a particular reason – other than to reflect internal brilliance – to attract specific talent and interest. If the team is contributing to information generation and content of a particular standard surely we filter out the “half-wits” who become far too weary to tread even close to the “contact us” section of our blog.

Career minded people

There are few (if any) employers who want to employ people who are not passionate about the business. Looking for someone with career aspirations and goals is important. If someone shows that they have the ability and desire to learn and grow in an environment to bring them closer to their dreams – why the heck not? They are dreaming big and have goals and achievements mapped out. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, why not ask the obvious questions, for instance, how they overcame something extremely challenging and what they learnt from the experience? If nothing seems to come to mind, propose a hypothetical situation and see how they would grapple with it. Much of how they answer will further tap into their ability and desire to learn and grow, and how their thought processes work to give the interviewer a clearer indication of their attitude and motives.

Apart from personal passion, goals and dreams, the interviewee should show a passion for the company itself of course!

Do your homework

The interviewee has to do his or her homework on the company and vice versa. Beyond this you have to ask yourself if the interviewee will be a fit for the designated position or in the organisation’s culture? Did they demonstrate that they’re well prepared and skilled to answer anything you may throw at them, or at the very least, to the very best of their ability? These are all key qualities to keep top of mind.

More than anything, your gut feel is often your surest indicator of a successful/unsuccessful candidate. Identifying all the potential red flags, or positive indicators, comes with years of experience, and your gut will be tuned accordingly.

Yes, the key here is being able to spot the talent, but we have created an environment conducive to letting employees learn and grow irrespective of their level of experience. At Cerebra we provide employees with the opportunity to grow and gain as much as possible, to the best of their ability. Sure from time-to-time you may hit a miss and employ someone with a sterling CV, experience from here to Alaska and word-perfect, yet could be a colleague’s worst nightmare with an intolerable level of arrogance and social skills of a brick wall. Having your sixth sense “switched-on” to identify a candidate who wants to learn and contribute to the company will hold you in better stead than hiring the schmuck with the exceptionally impressive resume.

Now go out and recruit your winner!

Image: digitalart /