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What Type of Detail Oriented Person Are You Hiring?

hiring and recruiting“Detail-oriented” is a quality many companies are requiring for when attempting to attract top talent. Most job descriptions include the need for someone who is “detail oriented” and most applicants describe themselves as just that.

Why are companies still having challenges finding candidates who really are detail oriented?

Companies often ask us “How do we determine if a candidate is detail oriented?” And this seems like a simple enough question, right?

We most often observe hiring managers asking this question, “Are you detailed oriented?” OR “Would you say you like to focus on the details?” The issue with these types of close-ended questions is they only yield a yes or no answer ? which is not enough evidence to successfully assess anything really.

How should a hiring manager properly assess for the quality of “detail oriented”?

As one of the leading San Diego recruitment firms, our clients are asking us this question, and others like: How do I interview for soft skills? How can I tell they are truly a hard worker?


hiring and recruitingTIP #1

Define upfront what detail-oriented means to your specific organization. What does someone need to do well to be ‘detail-oriented’ in that position at your company?


If companies need a big-concept detail oriented person, the RIGHT detail oriented people will accurately recall things like the way a room is set up, what everyone at a meeting was wearing, or what the values of a company are after hearing them just one time.

Other detail-oriented people may instead may notice if a button was missing on your shirt, or notice things out of place in a room, or perhaps notice if something is missing in a contract or see all the spelling errors in a matter of a minute – these are small-concept detail oriented people.

How do you incorporate ‘detail-oriented’ into a job description?


hiring and recruitingTIP #2

Understand the difference between big concept and small concept detail-oriented.



If hiring for a big-concept detail oriented person ? an office manager for example ? here are 3 things they might need to accomplish:

? Coordinates 12 big events per year for the company

? Understands and relates well to people with diverse backgrounds

? Conveys information clearly and concisely in board meetings

When hiring a small-concept detail oriented person ?a staff accountant for example ? here are 3 things they might need to accomplish:

? Find inaccuracies in journal entries and balance sheets

? Great with catching small numerical errors

? Experience with data entry and high level of 10-key accuracy

Both examples above require a detail-oriented person ? but as you can see, there are two VERY DIFFERENT definitions of ‘detail oriented’.

attracting top talentTIP #3

Remember when writing the job description, its important to include what type of detail oriented objectives need to be met.


As a talent strategy consulting firm with a leading executive search agency, we have the hiring and interview process down to an art.

One of the best practices in hiring is to be 90%-100% clear about what success looks like in the position? including abilities required for success ? like “detail-oriented.”

Share your thoughts with us. What interview questions do you like to use to assess for soft skills?