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Why and How to Hire “Nice” Over Talent; “Nice” is Essential

I worked for an investment bank in the late 1980s and the “Analyst” staff was dominated by an extremely talented young guy who also happened to be a bombastic jerk. The company put up with him b/c his quantitative and software skills were unmatched. But the company was unaware of the damage he was doing to the culture overall. When he finally left the company, even though his skills were sorely missed, productivity and culture improved significantly.

This is why we only hire sincerely “nice people” no matter how talented someone might be. Truly nice people make far better team-players, improving productivity; they vastly improve a company’s culture (making it a fun place to work); they make it make easier to attract more talent (our “nice people” do our interviews); and they develop much richer and more long-lasting relationships with clients and referral sources.

It took us years to learn how to assess “nice.” We do so by making sure there is chemistry among our interview candidates and employees doing the interview. We ask if the candidate is someone they would want to hang out with outside of work.

We also make friendly conversation to tease out various likes and dislikes (looking for signs of bitterness or drama) and we ask about the nature of long-term childhood and family relationships (making sure they are still intact).

This is not failsafe, and there are many exceptions to our rules, but in a team environment where extreme productivity requires working together, nice is absolutely essential.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(925) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646