Hiring Character First - Cover

Hiring Character First

Hiring Character First

We’ve seen that people that willingly stand up for what they believe in also stand up to the passion of what we bring as an organization. People like this help us enhance our ability to become better than we are now. We also take this observation one step further at KLAS. For us, hiring character means that we hire people with an apparent desire to be part of the bigger picture—in this case, KLAS’ own mission. I like to think of it as a hiring experiment that KLAS has embarked on for the last 25 years.

Our mission to improve the world’s healthcare is our driving force at KLAS. Helping our customers and the lives that they touch, which is ultimately their patients like you and me, is what gets us up in the morning. In some ways it is impossible to convey this fully until you’ve worked here—until I came on board, I had no idea just how passionate our company was. But our mission truly drives our everyday conversations and interactions. It forms our entire foundation.

Of course, this doesn’t negate the need to hire someone that has the skills and abilities to be able to do the job. Doing so would be putting both you and the company at a disadvantage, and we really want people to succeed here. That said, I don’t see any downside to hiring for character first.

Interviewing Based on Our Values

Our character-based values are also entrenched into who we are as a company. These values are:

  • Integrity: Be honest, accurate, and impartial.
  • Passion: Be fearless in finding and sharing the truth.
  • Accountability: Do what you say. Be disciplined to follow processes. Work hard. Use resources as if they were your own.
  • Trust: Build great relationships and seek to earn trust by being an exceptional teammate.
  • Humility: Listen first, crave feedback, and show gratitude. Seek to understand.

When we specifically look to these behaviors to in the interview process, we tend to ask behavioral-based questions that are bucketed in these core values. So, we're asking questions that are related to each of these. Ideally, by asking these behavioral based questions, we can tease out from applicants how they would interact or how they would react given certain scenarios. These are linked to specific behaviors which we link to character.

In fact, when you interview, you will likely be asked questions like this multiple times by multiple different people. Those involved in the interview then compare those answers and how they line up to our values. That has been a good barometer. It's not the only barometer—but it helps us answer if we are on the right track.

Diversity of Thought

A word of caution here: we want applicants to buy in to our values and understand that our values are at our core. We also want people that can be passionate about what we do. But one of my one of my big pet peeves is when people say a candidate seems like a good cultural fit for the company. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but to me what they’re really saying is that a candidate thinks like we do. We don’t necessarily want people to think exactly like us. We want them to bring in their unique school of thought, and to be different in how they how they work through problems.

Why the Cover Letter

A resume is very timeline driven; it shows chronological achievements. We continue to ask for cover letters because they are your opportunity to give us more insight into who you are as a person. When I write cover letters, it has very little to do with my experience or my resume. It has more to do with who I am, why I'm driven, and why I'm interested in the position I’ve applied for. If you can capture those pieces in a cover letter, it gives you the opportunity to open more doors later.

Sometimes it’s helpful to look at it like a movie trailer or teaser. Hopefully, it makes recruiters pause and want to look at your resume because you have a lot of interesting things to offer.

How KLAS Continues to Grow

Even as we appreciate our foundation and continue to utilize it, we are aware that the workplace also needs to change to better meet the needs of employees. So, we plan to become more public about the importance of inclusion and equity at KLAS. We're going to call ourselves out online on key metrics like our male to female ratio, our white and people of color ratios, and our gay, lesbian, and transgender ratios.

Right now, those numbers are not going to be super pretty. It's going to be a hard pill to swallow for us. But it's good because it forces us to recognize where we are and what we can fix. So, we're also going to list out all the things we are doing to address the situation, like our employee resource group (ERG) programs. We've never claimed to be perfect, but we are learning and we're getting better as we go step by step.