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3 Questions Every Company Should Be Asking Before Making a New Hire

03/17/2015 11:13 am ET | Updated May 17, 2015

Hiring top talent is key in today's market -- it's no big secret that everyone wants to hire the best. If someone wins an award for the work they've done in their industry -- recruiters will be stalking that individual like a co-dependent boyfriend days before prom. But what employers fail to understand is that plucking a super star from one company and hiring them doesn't necessarily mean their shine will sparkle as brightly in their new surroundings. A lot of factors have contributed to an employee becoming an industry leader like having killer teams, bosses that champion their ideas, or interacting with coworkers that challenge them to be better. Hiring the individual employee, at times, is only one element of the success recipe, but hiring the right person can make the difference, especially if you know what you're looking for--and that's an engaged employee with success running in their DNA. But how do you know if you're bringing someone on board ready to make lightning strike twice? One way to get you closer to finding out is asking these three questions during the interview.

1. How do they show that they're passionate? People will tell you that they're passionate. Some will even direct you to a website to show you, but only a few will prove it and those that succeed will have a variety or mix of ways to convey their enthusiasm. Think about it - a true passionista won't have just one method of expressing their love for social media, or a specific brand, or TV show. They will wear it, watch it, blog about it, tweet it, SnapChat it, sing it...you get the picture (there's another, Instagram it). Okay, I digress. You want to see all the ways this individual has managed to capture their interest in the role, industry or field that you're hiring for. This keeps things fresh and exciting, not only for them as an employee, but for you as the employer because you know that their interest is real. Forget waiting until the company picnic in August to boost company morale. These passionate employees will be spreading more than mayonnaise in the break room as your biggest brand ambassadors the moment they walk through your doors!

2. Do they like to share? It's one thing to find someone who's an expert in their field and it's another to find a rare jewel, secure enough to share their expertise with the rest of the team, company, and even industry. I've seen many employees get excited over a new company hire, thinking they're finally going to learn about XYZ topic from their colleague that starts on Monday, only to be crushed to hear their false idol meet their request with, "I'll send you a 10-slide power point deck on that." When you hire a subject matter expert that doesn't want to share their knowledge--you've just hired a problem.

On a resume, look for examples like leading workshops, talks or trainings on various topics. Look for video samples or, better yet, try to see this person live, if possible. When interviewing, ask, "Can you tell me how you share your knowledge on XYZ topic at your current company?" A person who likes to share feels compelled to distribute information and is a true "team player." They want to make sure everyone is at the same elevated playing field in order to thrive. It's a calling for them to educate and motivate others and that's a quality employers can't afford to overlook in their next hire.

3. How do they elevate their own game? The last thing you want in an employee is someone who is comfortable being complacent. Let's say you hire a recruiter who was at the top of their industry in the 80s working off of the fattest Rolodex and telephone books in existence--but it's 2015 now. If they sit and stare at their LinkedIn login screen in fear or look at their Twitter feed with the same anger and contempt Kanye looks at Beck, then we have a problem. Longing for the days of flipping through white pages and making random phone calls are not how we recruit people today. You want people who fundamentally understand the nature of the industry you're in and are excited to use new tools and methods to achieve their goals...maybe even break and set new records.

You want to see examples of how they're using new techniques, setting new trends, or flipping the industry upside-down. Maybe they speak at conferences, lead panels, or write about the industry. This shows advanced thinking and ensures you don't get stuck with an employee who holds on to old thought patterns that turn into bad unproductive habits. In an interview, ask how they stay on trend with industry news or events - make sure they push themselves to stay relevant in order to push the envelope at work--causing the competition, not your organization, to lag behind.