5 Signs to Look for When Hiring Top Performers


Signs of Excellence

When you’re hiring for your company, whether it’s a startup or an established and successful business, it’s easy to let qualifications and credentials command slightly, of often significantly more attention than they deserve.

While the right qualifications are often essential for the position, there’s another characteristic that’s equally as important and far too often ignored: the person’s character, aptitude and personality.

From a history of involvement in important but unrewarding causes to an intense, results-focused attitude, some of the most important signs of excellent are hard to convey in a certain degree or certification.

They range from intensity to ingenuity, and they’re often easily missed when you follow the hiring criteria you’re “supposed” to use for maximum results. We’re put five of them to paper in this guide to help you hire the best for your business.


Does your company demand creativity? Even businesses that seem not to require creativity as much as others can often demand creative, innovative thinking skills for the best results.

Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean artistic ability – in the workplace, it can often mean being able to think of an innovative, highly effective solution to a problem or setback your business is facing that others might not realize.

Being able to come up with creative solutions helps your business move forward at a rapid pace and avoid becoming bogged down by obstacles. As such, it should be a key priority for any high-level hires your company makes.


Far too many companies – particularly technical companies – overlook things that can’t be quantified. It’s easy to assess the value of a degree or technical certificate, but far harder to quantify the value of years of volunteering or charity work.

People that demonstrate a commitment beyond the bare minimum – whether it’s charitable work or involvement in sports and clubs throughout college and during their adult life – are often extremely dedicated, focused and hardworking.

Commitment to a cause beyond what’s immediately important shows an incredibly valuable – and in many cases, extremely rare – sense that it’s important to give back and put in extra effort, even when it isn’t expected.


In the 21st century, it’s extremely difficult to find someone that will stay with your company forever. The days of 40-year careers at a single company are over – a fact proven by the 4.4 year track record Millennials have at most of their jobs.

If you’re the type of company that likes its staff members to grow alongside itself, look for commitment and consistency in your job applicants. A history of hopping from one job to another could leave you with a new hire that only lasts a year.

People with a history of staying at one company for an extended period of time are more likely to be highly engaged and able. As such, consistency should be one of the first things you look for in any job applicant.


Does your company have ambitious growth or innovation goals? If you’re dedicated to growing your company and turning it into one of the world’s greatest brands, you need someone who’s equally as motivated and driven as you are.

This is particularly important for startups, which lack the resources to “cruise by” as large companies often can. When resources are limited, you need to make up for the material shortcomings of your company by hiring motivated top-performers.

Assessing someone’s motivation and drive via a resume is tough. Look out for signs of drive and motivation – a desire to contribute and a high level of enthusiasm – as you conduct interviews and you’ll quickly find your best candidates.


The best businesses aren’t just built on great products or great execution – they’re built on honesty. Just like the best brands are honest about what they are, the best people are honest about their abilities and their points for improvement.

The classic interview tactic of providing a non-answer to questions about personal weaknesses often reveals a candidate that, far from lacking any weaknesses, simply isn’t able to be honest with themselves.

The most capable people are honest and transparent, both about what they can do and what they can’t. Seek honesty in your hires and you’ll get honest results – the type of results that help your company grow, develop and make progress.