Early in my career, I was very intentional about hiring for character and competence. No one wants to work with a scoundrel, someone who couldn't pull their weight, or both.

But even the most upright and competent individuals sometimes didn't work out. Why? It took me years to realize that chemistry was an important consideration, even on the same level of importance as the other two. Here's why.

Competence: The Foundation of Success
Competence is the foundation upon which every hire should be evaluated. This encompasses the technical skills and knowledge required for the job and the ability to apply them effectively. When evaluating competence, I look for past achievements, the ability to solve complex problems, and a demonstrated track record of continuous learning and growth.

Competence ensures that the person can perform their job effectively, contribute to the team's objectives, and help the organization achieve its goals.

I remember one particular hire early in my career – an individual with impeccable credentials and a stellar track record. On paper, they were the perfect candidate. Their technical skills were unmatched, and they had a history of delivering exceptional results. However, competence alone wasn't enough, as I soon discovered.

Character: The Bedrock of Trust
On the other hand, character is about integrity, reliability, and work ethic. It's the bedrock of trust in any professional relationship. A person of character is dependable, honest, and aligns with the organization's core values. They take ownership of their actions and are accountable for their results.

Hiring for character ensures that the person will not only do the job well but will also do it in a way that upholds the organization's values and culture.

In one instance, I hired someone who, despite having excellent technical skills, lacked the integrity I expected. It wasn't long before trust and reliability issues began to surface, disrupting team dynamics and leading to a loss of morale.

Chemistry: The Glue That Binds
Despite hiring for competence and character, I found that some hires didn't work out. The missing piece of the puzzle was chemistry. Chemistry is the often-overlooked element that can make or break a hire. It's about interpersonal dynamics, the ability to work well within the team, and the ability to fit in with the organizational culture.

Chemistry determines whether the person can collaborate effectively, communicate well, and build positive relationships with colleagues.

I once hired a highly competent and conscientious individual who couldn't gel with the team. The person's working style and approach to communication created friction and misunderstandings. Then, I realized that chemistry is as crucial as competence and character. A lack of chemistry can lead to conflict, decreased productivity, and a hostile work environment.

The Intersection of the Three Cs
I now emphasize competence, character, and chemistry in my hiring process. Competence ensures that the person can do the job. Character ensures they will do it in a way that aligns with our values. Chemistry ensures that they will do it well with others, especially those in our team.

When all three Cs align, the result is a hire who is capable, trustworthy, and a great fit with the team. This balance creates a strong, cohesive unit that can achieve great things together.

So, the next time you're hiring, remember to consider competence, character, and chemistry equally. This holistic approach will help you build a skilled, trustworthy, and harmonious team, setting your organization up for long-term success.


Digital Growth Strategies