Potential Employees Should Pass This 6-Factor Intangibles Test


Imagine you’re considering an applicant for a position at your company. Their sparkling resume has it all: impressive academics, excellent work history, and impeccable skill set. Seems like the perfect addition to your team. Not so fast.

Crafted for the sole purpose of persuading the reader, a resume is, first and foremost, a marketing tool — a cherry-picked collection of a person’s most marketable assets. While these qualifications are significant factors in hiring the right candidate, I believe there are six other factors that are even more important.


More Than a Resume

Applicants are so much more than what they list on an 8.5”x11” piece of paper. Each is a unique individual with their own personality, values, opinions, and goals. You have to make sure these “intangibles” align with your company and current employees, because one bad hire could have a ripple effect throughout your organization, forcing you to have to compensate and do things you weren’t planning or ready to do, like having to fill additional vacancies. 

Whether you’re an HR recruiter for a large corporation or a small business owner doing the hiring yourself, it’s not easy to find and hire candidates that you hope will eventually be significant assets to your company. But what you must understand is that your hiring decisions — good or bad — come with extremely high consequences. 

The difference between massive spikes in productivity and a toxic climate that could lead to a mass exodus is the difference between good hiring decisions and bad ones — which is exactly why a deep-diving interview process centered on my six-factor intangible test is so important.


The Intangibles Test

As Managing Partner and Founder of M:7 Agency, I’ve conducted my fair share of interviews, and let me tell you, that one-on-one, face-to-face interaction is by far the most important part of the hiring process, one no resume, skill test or quality reference should trump. To increase your odds of hiring a franchise player, make sure they pass my intangibles test.


Work ethic, energy level, confidence, and vibes… these all contribute to a person’s overall attitude. If one of these attributes is lacking, it will eventually manifest on the job in ways that adversely affect the employee’s performance as well as their co-workers. Attitude is contagious. A great attitude can energize a team and lift it up when things get rough. Likewise, one energy vampire can bring down the team and infect it with bad vibes. Simon Sinek once said, “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” While I agree with his statement generally, practically I don’t like its rigidness. Attitude is tremendously important, and my test’s top factor, but attitude alone shouldn’t get your applicant the job.


Would you look solely at someone’s resume before moving in with them, letting them babysit your kids, or date your daughter? Of course not. Well, your work family deserves similar consideration. Think about it, employees often work together for long periods of time, in conditions that can test one’s character. There are some weeks when I see my coworkers more than I see my wife and kids.  

While it may seem like a no-brainer — after all, no one wants an unethical person on their team — integrity can be overlooked in the hiring process, under the assumption that most people are naturally good. While it’s not easy and you have a relatively short amount of time to do so, it behooves you to get a sense of your applicant’s character ASAP.


Many employers talk about rewarding loyalty, and some even foolishly demand it, but both result in selfish transactional loyalties. The loyalty I’m referring to here builds strong teams, holds each other accountable, fosters trust, and prioritizes the best interests of others, themselves, and the company. 

Does your applicant recognize the importance of loyalty and are they capable of being loyal, whether to themselves, their families, faith, or employer? By knowing this, you’ll know you can count on them, through thick and thin, not to blindly follow or forsake their own wants and needs, but to do what it takes to help themselves and the team win.

Humility & Respect

The best work environment is one of mutual respect and inclusion. Because “there is no respect for others without humility in one’s self,” according to philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiel, humility and respect go hand in hand. Healthy confidence is in fact healthy for your company, but arrogance and disrespect breeds contempt and disrespect in return.

Willingness to Learn & Adapt

I agree with Richard Branson’s statement that “Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.” Embracing change is the hallmark of true growth, and your potential employee must be willing to learn and adapt for the betterment of themselves and the company. Are they good at receiving and giving feedback? They must be open to new ideas, enhancing their skills and doing things differently than how they’ve always done it.

Communication Skills

Sure, you might find this on a resume, but it’s so incredibly rare and so time-consuming to teach that it deserves special prioritization. The interview process is where you can get a better grasp of your applicant’s true communication skills. But, can they effectively communicate with people from different generations, backgrounds, and experiences, who don’t necessarily share the same opinions, beliefs, or life goals?


You’ll know when you have the best candidate sitting in front of you when they pass my intangible test. If they don’t, then you may want to consider looking elsewhere. This is no time to gamble.