The 4th C of Interviewing


training roomHiring the wrong person is costly. There are the hard costs associated with the search as well as delayed projects, lowered morale, and expensive employee benefits. Yet many companies do not have a well-defined and comprehensive interviewing process. They leave it up to individual managers to make hiring decisions while neglecting to provide sufficient guidance or training on what to look for in a candidate.

Often managers place considerable weight, too much weight perhaps, on technical skills while largely ignoring the other aspects required for success. You’ve probably heard the saying “People are hired for their technical abilities; they are fired a lack of people skills.” That’s often true.

Not long ago I wrote about the 3 C’s that I look for when interviewing technical people: Competence, Compatibility, and Core Values (Character). You can read about them here.  I’ve recently added another characteristic that deserves to be included with the 3 C’s.

The 4th C is Coachable.

Is the person open to constructive feedback? Does he want to improve? Or does he “know it all” already?

Being coachable means the person is humble and has a teachable spirit, that he is willing to accept that there may be other or better ways of doing things. Coachable does not mean overly impressionable or being unduly swayed like a ship without a rudder. Rather it means they are professional and confident in their abilities. Yet they recognize that everyone can improve and they yearn to get better, to be the best.

So, when interviewing for your next direct report, ask questions that reveal coachability. That, along with the other C’s, will help you to select the best addition to your team.

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