A friend recently lost a “Toastmaster’s” competition, and when I offered my consolation he reminded me that years ago I told him I preferred to hire people who had experienced an occasional defeat in their lives.   Thinking about that conversation, especially in light of the large number of unemployed people in this economy, I thought it might make sense to write a post on what kind of people The Bozzuto Group looks for when we do our hiring.  And we do hire!  This year we will probably bring in more than 400 new employees and, with our continued growth plans, will continue to need a lot of new talent.

In order to make this informative, I decided to get help from an expert, Kristen Reese, the person in charge of all of our company’s hiring.  So, if you like what follows, credit Kristen.  If not, blame me.

First, we hire nice people. “Concern” for others is our company’s primary value. It is simply much easier to teach nice people the skills they need than it is to train skilled people to be nice.   And unless you’re dealing with a surgeon or a nuclear scientist, most of us do care about, and would prefer to deal with, nice people.

Secondly, we value intelligence and place a premium on education. Depending upon the position we are trying to fill, we will hire the best of both worlds.

Next, and as my friend reminded me, we are not necessarily looking for people who have won at everything they have ever tried.  Generally, people who win constantly can become a bit arrogant and maybe complacent.  We prefer people who have tasted defeat but not allowed it to hinder them, people who are a little humble and very “hungry.”

What do we mean by hungry?  Well, one of our corporate values is “passion.” So, when we say we are looking for “hungry” people, we mean that we are looking for people who are passionate – always pushing themselves to do and be better – because that is what makes them get up and go to work in the morning and feel great at the end of the day.

And we look for passion in everyone in our organization. From the Maintenance Manager whose new life in this country started with a less than desirable job while he learned a new trade, to the Director who served her country in the Navy before embarking on a civilian career, there are endless examples at every level and within every job of people who have faced challenge and found success because they bring passion to everything they do. We want to hire more of them!

While we want to hire someone who is motivated to succeed and advance, we also look for people who understand the importance of teamwork.  We reject the trite saying that “there is no ‘i’ in the word team.”  We believe that an individual flourishes best when she or he can work well with others on a team and someday, potentially motivate and lead that team.

We do look at and value experience.  But honestly, while experience and good credentials are important, just because someone has done something often or for a long time it doesn’t mean they are good at it. Many times I’d prefer we hire someone with energy, initiative and creativity over someone who has done “it” (whatever “it” may be) a thousand times before.

Surely, there are other characteristics we look for when we hire.  We value diversity within our ranks and we look for sociable people with focus, integrity, common sense, and dignity, especially dignity. And clearly, part of the hiring process is the result of the personal relationship that builds between the candidate and the interview team.  But if you put all of this together with what we’ve written above, you will understand more clearly why our culture is so strong and consistent and what it is that defines the perfect Bozzuto employee.

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