As I have looked for jobs and have hired candidates for jobs over the last 20+ years, I've reached the conclusion that candidates and interviewers should be looking for exactly the same 4 things. "The 4 P's of Recruiting" (or "The 4 P's of Hiring"): People, Passion, Purpose and Products, in that order.
1) People. To me, it all starts and ends with people. Simply put, if you don't like the people you're interviewing with, or want to "grow up to be like them", walk away.
I like to ask myself 2 questions when I interview:
a) Would I like to hang out with this interviewer/candidate during my free time?
b) Is this interviewer/candidate someone I can learn from?
If the answer to either question is no, stop the process and look elsewhere. If the answer to both questions is yes, move on to Passion.
2) Passion. I have found that passion is the most important ingredient to long-term success, personally and professionally.
As a candidate, if you feel passionate about something, you're going to work harder at it, sometimes outside working hours. Over the long run, passion is going to ensure that you try harder and likely do better at your job. Match your passion to your job and you're in for a good ride. If you feel no passion for a company or its products, walk away.
As an interviewer, if you don't feel passion from a candidate, move on. It's too important to their success and to your success filling that job. You will find someone who feels passionate about your job sooner or later. You don't want to work around apathetic people: I've done it before, and it's not fun for you, nor productive for the organization.
If People and Passion are there, proceed to Purpose.
3) Purpose. If people and passion are there, matching an organization's purpose with a candidate's purpose is the next most important recruiting match to make. I learned this at Intuit, 13 years into my post-college work life.
At Intuit, I found that I believe in its mission to "improve our customers' financial lives so profoundly they can't imagine going back to the old way", and that has made ALL the difference. I have never felt so invested in an organization's success. As a candidate, learn about the organization's mission and purpose, and ask yourself if you believe in it. If you don't, tread lightly.
As an interviewer, ask about a candidate's passion areas, hobbies and causes they believe in. If there isn't a match with your organization's purpose, tread lightly as well.
If People, Passion and Purpose are there, the final tie-breaker is Products.
4) Products. I believe that products are the outward manifestation of an organization's purpose, people and passions.
As a candidate, I ask myself the following about a company's products:
1) Do I like them? Would I enjoy building and improving them? (Product + passion test)
2) Do they add value to the life of someone I care about? Would I be proud to say I work for the company that makes them? (Product + purpose test)
As an interviewer, does the candidate express knowledge and interest in your organization's products? How knowledgeable are they about them? Have they used them?
As a candidate, if you're offered a job and the 4 P's of Recruiting are there (People, Passion, Purpose & Products), take it. As an interviewer, if the 4 P's of Hiring are there, extend the offer. Finding all 4 of these is harder than you think.
Luis Felipe Sanchez is Director, QuickBooks Accountant Marketing at Intuit.
Editor's Note: Our good friend, Luis Felipe Sanchez, wrote this for his Linked-in Post. He graciously agreed to allow us to re-publish it so that all of our readers could enjoy this perceptive paper on Human Resources.