5 Sources of Initial Career Success- Don’t Fool Me


There is commitment, and then there is commitment!

Here are 5 Sources of Initial Career Success for New Hires

  1. They make the numbers.
  2. They appear to be very bright.
  3. They show commitment and sacrifice.
  4. They are charming and well liked.
  5. They are ambitious.

It is difficult to argue against these, who doesn’t want an employee that makes the numbers, is committed,  is ambitious?

But these characteristics, I have found, are short term performance traits. These traits just make people “look good” as an initial impression.

What do I look for when sizing up my new employees when trying to evaluate them for their long term potential?

Here are  3 Indicators of Strong Potential for Future Career Success

1) They seek opportunities to learn. They tend to be curious- ask why, look for explanations, read anything that might give them insights. They take good notes.

2) They seek and use feedback. Many of the folks that have turned out to be my strongest performers were basically “experiential learners”- people that learned by doing. but at the same time, they craved formal and informal feedback to help them key in on what behaviors to change. And then they changed behaviors.

3)  They are committed – to making a difference. Not just when the boss is around. Their commitment is evidenced by the fact that they show up when they’re supposed to. They volunteer, especially for projects that affect the entire team. When they are around, they bring out the best in others.

Am I saying that if someone exhibits the top five traits that they won’t be strong performers down the road?

Not at all?

What I am saying is that I am more likely to be convinced by someone’s committed behaviors when I am not around; that when I see that they have a process for learning and growing, rather than just doing what they are told, that I begin to catch a glimpse of potential for the long term.

Hit your numbers! But to the boss, it just might be more important to be seen as the person who has a defined process for learning and growing that makes the best impression.

What do you think? What do you look for as signs of long term potential in your new hires?