No matter what type of organization you own and operate, it’s critical to recruit and hire employees that will help you take your business to the next level. Many businesses make the mistake of jumping the gun and hiring people who have fancy job titles or winning personalities without ensuring they are an honest employee who will be a good fit with your organizational culture.

Technical skills and abilities are important, however, it is equally important that you find a candidate who will represent your brand ethically and honestly.

As Warren Buffett once said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” You can’t teach integrity, which is why it’s essential to make hiring for honesty part of your interview process.

Adopting one or more of these tips will help you achieve a team you can trust.

Write job descriptions that attract talent.

In addition to the normal duties included in job descriptions, be sure to clearly communicate your organization’s culture and the core values that help drive your business operation. Don’t be afraid to require that the applicant exhibit certain attributes and attitudes that align with those values.

Spot red flags

As you review the applicant’s resume, pay attention to red flags such as vague descriptions of past job responsibilities or listed skills that are inconsistent with past positions or education levels. Also, be aware of inconsistent employment dates and discrepancies between one’s resume and other forms of communication such as online resumes and professional profiles.

Conduct initial phone interviews.

Before offering an in-person interview, do a thorough phone screen first. During this discussion, you can flush out questions about work history, job qualifications and salary expectations. You might pick up on discrepancies between one’s resume and what he or she says. You can sometimes eliminate candidates that are not a fit, saving you time from the face-to-face interview so you can focus on finding the perfect candidate.

Ask questions that screen for honesty.

There are numerous questions that you will ask in an interview, but don’t forget the ones that target a person’s level of integrity. Some sample questions include:

  • “What does integrity in the workplace look like for you?” Answers will help you assess the value they place on this trait.
  • “Describe a time in your past employment when you made a substantial mistake and you were the only one who knew about it. What did you do?” Answers to this question will help you determine if they take accountability for their actions or if they find ways to cover up their mistakes.

Involve other team members.

Be sure to involve key team members in the interview process. They most likely have their own high standards of effectiveness and will ask questions that identify similar traits in potential candidates.

It’s important to note that although following these tips will help you identify trustworthy candidates, at the end of the day, there is no foolproof way to guarantee that a new hire will always behave honestly. As part of the onboarding process, make sure to review your core values and be clear that failing to meet them can be grounds for termination.

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