It seems that lately our society has become intrigued with the notion of “happiness.” How do we define it? How do we acquire it? How do we keep it? And most importantly, how do we hire happy people?
Countless books have popped up on the New York Times best-seller list attempting to answer these questions: “Stumbling Upon Happiness,” by Daniel Gilbert, and both “The Happiness Project,” and “Happier at Home,” by Gretchen Rubin. They all promise greater happiness through better life choices. Personally, I don’t think you should turn “happiness” into a “project,” which makes it seem like a chore, rather than a naturally occurring thought, but that’s just me. However, if you are unhappy in your current life, you do have to put in some effort to change it.
Then I watched a documentary called “Happiness,” and they featured a woman whose happiness was not a choice, it was an ingrained feeling. Her face was run over by a car, and after the tragedy, she said she learned how to find more peace, serenity, and tranquility in her life. She said: “It’s weird to say this, but you could say I am happier now than I was before. I was always so driven, such an overachiever, but now I am more grounded, more centered, more content with myself.”
An employee who has these key factors: one who is centered, one who is well balanced, and one who is content with their circumstances, are ideal hires.
Then, I read a Coca Cola print ad while flipping through a magazine that read: “Happiness is BFFs.” This soft drink company promises us eternal happiness as long as close friends and sugary carbonates surround us. They did get the friendship part right. Employees who have strong social ties tend to be happier people.
Americans have become fascinated with the concept of happiness. As recruiters, it’s important to:
1) Hire a happy person.
This seems like a pretty simplistic statement, but the most qualified candidate may not have the best attitude down the road. Do you want to hire an accountant who is walking around miserable all day, but is great at crunching numbers? Do you want a salesperson that is great at closing clients, but picks fights with his coworkers? Genuinely happy people have a good work/life balance. They are personable. They have a social life, but are also highly driven to succeed. They have close friends and family that care about them. They are confident, meaning they are stable and secure within themselves.
2) Hire a person who will be happy in their job position and industry.
This also seems like a pretty intuitive statement, but recruiters do it all the time: they hire a candidate based on their education and experience, and not their drive. For example: don’t hire a customer service representative who is really an aspiring firefighter. I can prove this because I was one of those unhappy employees years ago, working as a technical writer when I really wanted to be a creative writer. I spent five years of my career unhappy and frustrated. When I finally got into the field that I belonged in and aspired to, I became happier, healthier, engaged, and satisfied with my career.
The bottom line: hire employees who honestly like what they do for 40 hours a week, and you will have a happy work environment.