Over the past quarter century of interviewing candidates and following up on their careers, we have noted one factor that all top performers share.  It is also easy to find out if your candidate possesses it  – if you know what to look for. If they do possess it, they are very likely to be high performers for you!

So what is this single magic ingredient that can predict future success?  It’s been proven to us through thousands of interviews  that employees who work hard to develop their professional skills and increase their industry knowledge away from work, at their own expense and  time nearly always develop into high performers in their careers!

Examples include:

  • Sales personnel who practice their presentation at home  and record it on the smart phone to review and look for ways to improve
  • Managers who practice meeting at home and record it and look for ways to improve it
  • Reading books on management practices, leadership, customer service, sales , etc., to excel in their job
  • Enrollment in online or weekend classes related to work
  • Join LinkedIn Groups to stay current on their industry
  • Joining clubs like Toast Masters to hone their speaking skills

So what do we ask candidates ?  Our  wording will vary  depending on the level of candidate,  generally here is what we ask:

“What are your career aspirations in the next 5 years?”   Listen to their answer then ask:

“What are you doing – away from your work place – to get to that level?”     

After listening to their answer I may be prompted to ask “Do you think that is enough to get there ?”  

I may be impressed with their answer and confident that I have a high performer.  If their answer is lacking I may wonder why they are not putting more effort into developing their skills / knowledge the way high performers generally do.

In summary:  Employees who put effort into their career improvement  – on their own time and dime  – are very likely to be successful with you – so make sure you ask !

Donald Jasensky
Founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC
[email protected] 216-226-8190