Magazine article USA TODAY

First Hire Should Be First Rate

Magazine article USA TODAY

First Hire Should Be First Rate

Article excerpt

As many firms keep a watchful eye on the employment market and carefully plan to add staff, they face a tough question: Who will be the first person hired? According to Liz Hughes, vice president of the specialized staffing firm OfficeTeam, Menlo Park, Calif., pent-up demand and pressure to find the perfect candidate make the process more difficult. "Many managers have been given permission to hire but are still unable to refill every downsized position," Hughes surmises. "The challenge for them is determining what criteria will be used to identify the best candidates."

How can supervisors ensure their first hires out of the downturn are smart choices? Hughes advises firms to seek out top performers during the selection process, not "perfect" ones. "A candidate's skills and experience may appear ideal on the resume, but the interview and reference check are the best tools in identifying who would be a top performer in the actual role." Qualities like motivation, versatility, and a proactive approach are common among first-rate candidates. Following are other areas to consider to distinguish the strongest applicants:

* Passion. …

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