Here are five rules to consider when recruiting team members. And they’re handily packaged together as the five Cs, to help you remember them.

Character: This is where you should always start. Do you trust the person’s character? Are they trustworthy, moral and reliable? Are they someone you will have confidence in to always do the right thing? Or is their character questionable? Are they dogged by rumours of loose morals, inappropriate words and behaviour, or financial misdeeds? If their character is in question, then it’s always a bad idea to take them on the team. No matter how gifted they may be, the fall out from their character defects further down the line will cost you far more than any benefit they were able to bring to the project. So character is always the first thing to consider when recruiting team members.

Chemistry: Will they fit in well with the rest of your team? Any team is a delicate balance of individuals working together for a common goal. Bringing in a new person always runs the risk of upsetting the dynamic you already have together. Does this new person already know anyone on the existing team? And do they get on? For a high performance team, the ability of people to work well together is far more important than their ability to simply work well.

Competence: Are they competent in the role you want them to take on? Do they have the skills, the talent, the networks and the aptitude to get the job done you are asking of them? Or if not, do they at least have the likelihood of being able to get up to speed quickly? Remember, competence can be taught far more easily than character can be changed, or chemistry can be manufactured.

Culture: Are they aligned with the values of your current team? You will have an organisational culture and way of doing things that the rest of your team already ascribe to. Can this new person step into that culture and become part of it? Jim Collins in Good To Great tells us the best organisations have such successful cultures they are almost cult-like, and that anyone who doesn’t fit into them is ejected by the organisation like a virus! Will your new team member fit your culture? Will they push forward your organisational culture in good directions?

Capacity: And lastly, do they have capacity to grow? At the moment you are recruiting them for a specific role that you hope they are competent enough to fulfil. But you expect your organisation to grow, and therefore the size of this role will also grow. Does the person you are looking at have the capacity to grow with the role, so they can still be performing it when it has grown beyond all recognition?

So those are 5 Cs to remember when recruiting team members. Clearly any leader would want new team members to fit all five criteria. But if you can’t find someone who can live up to all five, start at the top and work your way down. Never recruit if their character isn’t good… sometimes recruit if their competence isn’t top notch, provided you think they can be trained up… often recruit if it’s only their capacity which may not grow… provided that is you can’t find anyone else who satisfies all the 5 Cs.

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.

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