Blog Post

The 4 Cs of a Great Hire


Guest Author Jake Arnold, Vice President of Operations at Genesis PPG

A top success key for any business is selecting the right candidate for every position. Making a great hire can help save money and time, maximize productivity and boost morale, while the wrong hire can wreak financial and reputational havoc. Consider these statics:


  • The average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal up to 30 percent of that individual’s first-year potential earnings, according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics.
  • In a survey by the National Business Research Institute, 66 percent of responding employers said they experienced negative effects of bad hires. Of those employers, 37 percent said the bad hire negatively affected employee morale; 18 percent said client relationships were impacted; and 10 percent reported a sales drop.
  • And Say It! Communications, a Columbus, OH professional training and coaching firm, calculates the ROI of a bad hire at -298 percent.


So how do you go about assuring that you’re making the best hire possible? First, understand that successful hiring requires far more than simply pinpointing a candidate with the knowledge, skills and experience to match the job description. Having grown the payroll services division of Clarence, NY’s Genesis PPG from just one dedicated employee to eight in less than three years, I’ve learned that the most important aspects to look for in a candidate aren’t the obvious ones. Rather, most critical are the less tangible qualities that determine how well a candidate will fit within the organization.


In evaluating potential employees, I’ve developed a highly effective decision-making process based upon the four Cs:


  1. Character: A candidate of high character is one whose career and personal experiences illustrate a sense of responsibility, honesty and discipline; one who can work well with a team, but also be trusted to work autonomously. While everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re new on the job, someone of exceptional character will quickly own up to it. One memorable hire proved her worth when, distraught over having made several errors, she submitted her resignation, explaining that she did not want her blunders to affect the team or the company. I refused her resignation and, after a bit of investigation, learned that the problem stemmed from insufficient training. Once the issue was addressed, she became a highly valued and long-term employee. That level of ownership and sincere character to provide exemplary service to customers and teammates is exactly the point of the first – and arguably most important – of the four Cs.
  2. Competence: Competence to do the job well is important. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to confirm with a quick look at a candidate’s past work experience, known skills and demonstrated ability. Unfortunately, companies far too often hire on competence alone, simply choosing someone who has successfully worked a similar job. It’s a short-sighted approach that can prove a liability in the long-term. Luckily, when a less-than-ideal hire is made, red flags appear quickly. When they do, it’s important that you respond just as quickly. It’s unfair to your staff, clients and, ultimately, to the candidate himself to allow a bad situation to fester.
  3. Capacity: Doing the job well is one thing. But the best hires will master their assigned tasks quickly and take the initiative to learn and do more for the company over time. An employment history that shows a steady rise through the ranks and an interview in which the candidate asks about professional development opportunities and performance evaluation processes are positive signs.
  4. Culture: No amount of competence can outweigh employee behavior that proves disruptive to the rest of the team. That’s why it’s critical that a candidate proves a good fit with a company’s culture before making the cut. Teamwork, collaboration, respect for both coworkers and customers and a sincere desire to resolve problems are paramount, particularly in small businesses where resources often are stretched and employees don multiple hats.


Focusing on the four Cs of hiring has helped Genesis PPG to grow, expand services and successfully compete. It undoubtedly will benefit your company as well.


This blog post is guest authored by Jake Arnold, Vice President of Operations at Genesis PPG, a Clarence, NY payroll and credit card processing services firm. Reach him at