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May 2009 | Volume 27 / Number 12
Publisher's Outlook

Effective Hiring and Keeping The Right People

By Nadji Tehrani
CEO, Technology Marketing Corp.

44 Characteristics of "The Right People"

Nowadays, because of the current horrible state of the economy and the fact that Mr. Obama has decided to spend trillions of dollars to create three to four million jobs in America, it seems appropriate to revisit a recurring theme I have featured in some past editorials, specifically on "Effective Hiring" in order to make judicial selections of "the right people".

Successful managers are those who surround themselves with "the right people", give them direction and then get out of the way.

The vitally important question to ask is, "Just how do you define "THE RIGHT PEOPLE"?

In the accompanying list, I have tried to spell out some characteristics of "the right people."

Most companies wrongly spend 98 percent of their time talking (yes, talking) about customer service, customer care and customer retention, and practically never talk about employee service, employee care or employee retention!

This misguided philosophy leads to excessive employee turnover and, eventually, will result in "customer turnover", which means substantially higher costs for training new staff, not to mention loss of revenue! Once a company learns that without a competent staff armed with a flexible, positive, can-do attitude, there will be:

• No customer service;
• No customer care;
• No customer retention; and
• No progress,

...the company is prepared to focus 100 percent on that elusive, highly complex (if not impossible) task of hiring "the right people" and keeping them.

In the March 2006 issue of this publication, Mr. Ted Nardin, Senior Director of Performance Management of ClientLogic, a Top 50 teleservices company, penned an excellent article titled Hiring and training For The Call Center: Developing The "Universal Agent" And Beyond (

In his article, Mr. Nardin focused on effective hiring for the call center. Here are a few excerpts from his article:

"Transforming a call center from a cost-cutting afterthought to a viable brand-carrying profit-generating division of business begins by establishing effective hiring processes and training programs."

"If staffed and managed properly, the contact center can be an invaluable asset to the business."

The 44 Characteristics

I describe "the right people" as those who genuinely subscribe to the following guidelines:

1. Have a flexible, positive, can-do attitude;
2. Genuinely try not to make mistakes;
3. Don’t make excuses for mistakes;
4. Don’t miss deadlines;
5. Do a great job every time;
6. Remember every detail;
7. Take pride in what they do;
8. Don’t say, "It’s not my job";
9. Say, "Let me do it for you";
10. Offer unsurpassed customer service;
11. Are part of the solution, not the problem;
12. Are great team workers;
13. Are on the job every day on time!
14. Set a great example;
15. Avoid being politicians and don’t play political games;
16. Are not high-maintenance people;
17. Know that winners do what losers don’t want to do!;
18. Follow the vitally important role of Transparency;
19. Never keep management in the dark about any issue, good or bad!;
20. Have a GREAT work ethic;
21. Believe that "the harder I work, the luckier I get";
22. Are not clock watchers.
23. Come to work early, do a good job and leave late;
24. While at work, they spend 95 percent of their time working exclusively on company-related projects;
25. Know that if they have a problem with company policy to discuss it with management!;
26. Don’t badmouth their employer in their blogs or Web sites! That’s like biting the hand that’s feeding them!;
27. Go out of their way to be extremely helpful to customers, other employees and team members;
28. Know that if they don’t like something, they should develop a BETTER solution to the problem, then inform management and persuade them that doing it the employee’s way is a better way! They know that complaints do not achieve anything except lowering morale! In which case, management is justified to terminate such people after adequate warnings;
29. Are model employees, and are encouraged to come up with new cost-saving and/or profit-generating ideas;
30. Avoid chronic complaining;
31. Avoid being ‘bad apples’;
32. Are honest and never lie;
33. Never abuse expense accounts. The right people know that such abuse is equivalent to stealing;
34. Never get involved in sexual harassment;
35. Have a great sense of humor;
36. Are never pretenders. If they don’t know the correct answer to the question, they say, ‘I don’t know,’ they don’t make up answers;
37. Don’t create problems
38. Try to prevent problems;
39. Spend company money like it was their own; i.e., don’t waste it;
40. Don’t cover up mistakes and lie. Studies show that 20 percent of employees lie to management to cover up mistakes;
41. Don’t abuse company e-mail for frequent personal use;
42. Are sure to under-promise and over-deliver;
43. Treat customers with the highest levels of integrity, dignity, truthfulness and professionalism;
44. Last but not least, they uphold company values to the fullest extent

As always, I welcome your comments. Please email them to me at

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