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Education, skills, experience: these are the bedrock of a good potential hire. But you don't want to stop there. Finding the best candidate when your firm is hiring means searching for someone who has more than just the basics, someone with the qualities that will make for a stellar hire.
Enter the "six Q's." A recent Washington Post article detailed the six characteristics, or "quotients" the best job seekers have -- everything from IQ to IMQ, or the ability to adapt successfully to new situations. So here are the Q's to choose when adding to your law firm crews.
This is a no-brainer. Intelligence and critical thinking skills should be on the top of pretty much any legal employer's list, whether you're hiring a new associate, a paralegal, or a courier.
EQ has been touted as a more holistic alternative (or addition) to IQ for awhile now. It represents your ability to recognize your own and others' emotions, to be self-aware as well as empathetic, and to act on that information appropriately. Candidates with strong EQs will know how to get along, handle conflict, and deal with stress successfully.
You want your employees to grow and succeed (and stick around), so make sure they have the right "passion quotient" -- that is, they're excited about the work and committed to making an impact.
(By now you're probably starting to think that this "quotient" thing is a bit of a gimmick and it is, but the, ahem, qualities identified are still important to look for.)
Is the candidate someone who can mesh well with your firm's culture or who can adopt themselves to the ways things are done in your office? If not, they might not be happy at your firm. Just make sure you're not using culture as an excuse to screen out candidates with backgrounds that are different from yours.
Will a candidate be able to challenge the status quo when necessary, to stand up for what they think is best, or to make tough decisions that might require some risk? If so, they're high on the courage quotient and could be a better fit that someone who only goes with the flow.
Being able to juggle multiple tasks, to refocus when needed, to think creatively and learn things on the go -- all of these skills can be essential to success in the legal profession. Asking candidates about times they've innovated, adopted to change, or solved a tricky situation can help you identify potential hires with high IMQs.
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