The 4 ‘C’s’ Of Effective Hiring

June 6, 2016 – Rick Boxx  When employers hire someone, they often reverse the order of what I call the “4 C’s of Hiring”: Character, Calling, Competence, and Chemistry. Many search for those people with a good resume and experience for the position to be filled. Once the list of candidates is narrowed, many select the one they like the best.

A better approach would be to hire for character first. Hiring someone with great competence but without Character could prove to be the worst mistake you could make. Poor character can permeate and destroy an entire organization. Competence is important, but a final decision should be based on the level of character revealed after background checks, interviews, and integrity testing.

As 1 Corinthians 15:33 teaches, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

To emphasize Calling, one large corporation created a “pay-to-quit” program. Annually its “fulfillment center” employees get the opportunity to quit and get paid up to $5,000. The company has discovered the importance of calling, hiring those who are called, or feel passionate, about the organization’s mission.

In John 6:65-66 Jesus provided an example: “(He) went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Jesus disqualified many followers by clearly communicating His mission and giving them opportunity to leave. If you desire to hire the best, make your mission clear to them and eliminate those who do not have a sense of calling to the work.

After investigating someone’s character and determining whether they feel called and passionate about your mission, then selecting the most competent becomes a primary focus. Competence is third on my list because many skills can be taught if the right people have the desired character and passion. At the same time, finding and hiring the person with the best skills for the job will increase your company’s performance and ultimately, customer appreciation.

Proverbs 22:29 teaches, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” A resume of someone’s skills and work history can serve as a good starting point, but it would be wise to develop tests or brief work projects to determine someone’s true level of skill and competence.

Lastly comes the fourth important hiring quality: Chemistry. At a conference I attended, I heard a story about the importance of hiring people with whom you have a good chemistry. The speaker’s father had narrowed down a hiring decision between two strong candidates for a key position within his organization. But he was having trouble deciding between them.

This owner asked for his son’s opinion. The son’s insight was profound: “Dad, which one of the two will you enjoy being with the most as you journey together?” When selecting someone for a key position, it is wise to look for someone like-minded and with whom your team will likely enjoy working. As Proverbs 18:24 observes, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Before reading this “Monday Manna,” if someone had asked what qualities or characteristics you look for in a prospective employee, what would you have said?


  1. Do you agree with the qualities cited – Character, Calling, Competence, and Chemistry? Do you think they are listed in the proper order of consideration? Why or why not?


  1. Can you think of a time when you or someone you know hired a person who seemed very competent, but because of deficiencies in one of the other qualities, proved not to be the right person for your company or department? If so, how did you deal with that situation?


  1. Which of the four suggested hiring characteristics seems most challenging to you? Do you think putting primary emphasis on Competence – skill and experience – is always a mistake? Explain your answer.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Ecclesiastes 4:12; Proverbs 14:15, 19:20, 25:4-5, 26:10, 27:23-27; Philippians 4:9

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