To begin the process of identifying the best possible candidate to fill our loss prevention job openings, we will typically look at the type of position that we are filling, and evaluate the core competencies necessary to be effective in the job. This is much more complicated than simply identifying basic skills sets, and is as much a process of self-reflection and program assessment as it is a candidate search. Some of the core questions that must be answered would include:
- What type of talent are you looking for? What do you believe are the most important qualities that the potential candidate will possess?
- What skill sets do you believe are most important for the position that you are filling? Investigative abilities? Interviewing abilities? Auditing abilities? Diplomacy skills? Balance? Something else?
- What are the core competencies that are critical for effective performance? Looking at the type of position you are hiring and the needs of the position, what do you feel that the potential candidate should bring to the table?
- How important is this position when considering your ultimate departmental and company goals? This not only helps us balance abilities with potential, but also helps us reflect on what we as department leaders must contribute to make the position successful.
- How will this position and the potential candidate impact the dynamics of your existing team?
- What outside influences might impact the candidate’s success (For example, will they be working with a difficult store manager)?
- What steps are you willing to take to make the potential candidate successful? The success of the candidate—and the team, requires a commitment on the part of leadership as much as it does on the candidate. Are you willing to take the necessary steps?
Easily measured tangibles are almost always considered when evaluating candidacy for our loss prevention job openings. But if we limit the interview processes to this perspective alone, we may miss out on talents that can be just as critical—and often more important to long-term success. Our entire approach to the interview should be global and far-reaching.
Everyone is a product of their environment, and we learn to respond based on what we’ve been taught. Loss prevention programs are diverse operations with different approaches, different strategies and different emphasis. We need to make an effort to understand the candidate’s skill level in context with the type of LP department that they are coming from.
But there are many other factors that can be just as important when making quality hiring decisions. There are other ways of measuring talent, and other types of talent that are extremely important when determining long-term success in the profession. Leadership requires the ability to find vision beyond the tangibles as we measure an individual’s abilities—and potential. Some of the qualities commonly sought include:
- Flexibility and an open mind
- A willingness and ability to learn
- The ability to be coachable and take direction
- Passion, excitement and drive
- The ability to be a global thinker
- The ability and desire to assimilate to a new culture
- Strong communication skills
- The ability to teach and share knowledge
- The ability to “Think outside of the Box”
- Someone who’s not afraid to ask questions – and understands the importance of asking the right questions.
- Someone who is comfortable in the role and demonstrates the willingness to assume that responsibility
- Someone who finds the work interesting and intriguing
- The ability to influence change
- An awareness of how your behavior affects others
- The ability to clearly articulate a vision and instill the passion to achieve it.
- The ability to demonstrate “Courage under fire”
- Ego only when properly coupled with humility
- Intelligence coupled with common sense
- The willingness to be a part of a team – not only within the department, but within the company
These skills will apply at every level of professional development and every position within the professional hierarchy, whether you are the hiring manager or the candidate.
By the same respect, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate, and we can’t over-think the evaluation of candidates. Every individual has their limitations, and no one will possess all of the traits that we are looking for in a candidate. But a leader understands that the dynamic of a strong team allows us to mix and match skills and abilities—so long as the fundamentals are embodied by the team as a whole.
Making decisions on who to hire when filling our loss prevention job openings might be a complicated process, but it’s still a simple concept: hire talent. Just make sure that you understand what that talent is and how to use it. Good hiring decisions add value beyond any given role or position, and our team is our most important asset. Learn to ask the right questions as well as determining the best responses.
For more tips on the hiring process and how to hire the most talented professionals, read the LP Magazine article “Learning to Hire Talent is Key to a Successful Loss Prevention Career.”