Matthew Figgie and Rick Solon: Finding character and cultural fit

Matthew Figgie, chairman, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Matthew Figgie, chairman, Clark-Reliance Corp.

It is always difficult to find the right employees, not only people with technical skills but with other traits that will ensure long-term success for your organization.

Finding the right culture “fit” in terms of character and personality traits begins with the creation of the job requirements, preliminary candidate screening and the interview process. Preparation is critical before the interview to develop a series of questions designed to reveal the key traits desired of an employee.

At Clark-Reliance, our first hiring objective is to find candidates with superior technical qualifications and skills necessary to perform the tasks of a particular position. However, a candidate must also have the personal qualifications and skills to thrive in our corporate culture.

Identifying the major character traits that allow employees to fit comfortably into your organization and excel in their work allows you to create the appropriate interview questions. At Clark-Reliance, we have identified four major character traits necessary for an employee to have so that he or she will fit into our culture.

Self-awareness and personal accountability

Rick Solon, president and CEO, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Rick Solon, president and CEO, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Our goal is to find employees who have the ability to analyze and critique themselves. We want people to take accountability for their actions and success.

Continuous improvement

We want to find employees who are constantly seeking to sharpen their skills, which means either developing skills further or seeking skills they do not currently possess.

Passion

Simply stated, we want employees who have passion for their job and for our company.

Communication

We want employees who are willing to speak their mind as well as listen to other’s thoughts and ideas. A collaborative environment makes all employees invested in the development of the company.

In order to identify these traits in potential employees you should use behavioral type questions like the ones below:

Self-awareness

  • What are three accomplishments or significant successes that you identify with and take great pride?
  • What would your present or former boss say about you? What would he or she have liked to see you do differently?
  • Can you tell me about a mistake you made, either work or personal, that taught you a significant lesson?

Continuous Improvement

  • Where have you sought to improve yourself over the last three months?
  • How would a co-worker describe you?
  • What personal needs do you think this position will satisfy?

Passion

  • What has been your toughest job? How did you handle this job?
  • Has a job ever conflicted with your thoughts of what is right or wrong? If so, how did you handle it?
  • What work situations irritate you or make you angry?

Communication

  • If you were involved in a heated discussion with a fellow co-worker, would you be more comfortable in the role of the peacemaker or decision-maker? Why?
  • Have you taken the initiative to handle something that is technically out of your area of responsibility? Why did you choose to handle the situation that way?
  • How do you deal with your boss when he or she overrides a major decision that you have made?

 

Matthew P. Figgie is chairman of Clark-Reliance, a global, multi-divisional manufacturing company with sales in more than 80 countries, serving the power generation petroleum, refining and chemical processing industries. He is also chairman of Figgie Capital and the Figgie Foundation, a member of the University Hospitals Board of Directors, corporate cochairman for the 2013 Five Star Sensation and chairman of the National Kidney Walk.

Rick Solon is president and CEO of Clark-Reliance and has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing and operating companies. He is also the chairman of the National Kidney Foundation Golf Outing.

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