IN THE MIDDLE | career advancement

The 3C’s of Hiring Beyond Credentials

By Loradel Ang, MBA
Published February 18, 2022

There’s no exact science to hiring, so when you set out to hire a new employee for your company with knowledge of the sort of candidate you are looking for, it’s natural to decide based on the applicants’ resumes. However, to find a good fit, you’ll have to look at more than just a piece of document. From the point of view of a headhunter who often deals with urgency but also upholds quality at all times, here are the three C’s you should pay attention to, things that should actually weigh more than a superficial file filled with an applicant’s claims, to help in your search for the right-fit candidate.

The first C is COMPETENCE.

Focus on a candidate’s core competencies.

Core competencies can go a long way. Hiring a candidate for their basic and universal attributes regardless of his or her previous job ensures that they will be able to contribute to your company in various ways.

To prove my point, here’s a little backstory of how I became who I am today. I started the first few years of my career in the industry of Sales or Business Development. I spent a good part of my professional journey in three different companies before switching careers to become a Headhunter in a fairly new executive search firm. At first glance, the two roles may seem different, but both posts required competencies such as selling, marketing, lead generation, account management, and client relationship building. These similarities enabled me to quickly adjust and be at par with the expectations of my then-new employer.

It may seem such a leap, but then again, hiring is never not risky. Besides, if you’re having a hard time filling a specific role, then you might be looking at the wrong things. 

The second C is CHARACTER.

The second C you’ll want to pay value even more than skills and background to avoid a bad hire is Character, which includes non-negotiables like Compassion, Honesty, Integrity, Optimism, and Respect.

Employing someone who has many years of experience can be a double-edged sword. I have encountered numerous candidates and executives who are very much qualified based on their skills or competencies but are not fit for its core values and vision. This scenario often ends poorly for the company as they either see a toxic environment unfold in the workplace -- ultimately disrupting a company culture they have well established -- or witness even the best employees change due to the influence the bad hire has on others. It can also lead the company to face the cost of the hiring process once again. So, as you look for the best candidate, don’t forget to look for character hand in hand with competence. After all, a hire that has less experience but shows curiosity and eagerness to learn is easier to work with than an experienced professional with a know-it-all or high-and-mighty attitude.


The first two Cs are not enough and will never be if you intend to ensure you hire the right person, especially now that we are (still) in the middle of a pandemic where anything can happen at any moment, just like when this pandemic took the unsuspecting public by surprise and triggered wartime for businesses.

Almost two years ago, only those who pivoted quickly survived. If you were able to build momentum during those tough times and you plan to hold on to that to drive your business towards something greater, you'll need more than just credentials, more than just a document, more than just tenure, a name, or educational background. What you'll need is someone with the capability to deliver results, a professional who can not only hit the ground running but also consistently follow through. It’s not enough to have someone with the skills to do the job how you want them to do it if, at the end of the day, there are barely results. So, don’t loosen up on the behavioral and case questions. You're hiring for the long term; make it a one-time thing and make it count.

Again, there’s no exact science to hiring, but with these three C’s considered, I hope you find the right professionals who will help you and your company reach greater heights. Good luck!