Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
The Recruiting Reel with Sarah Dabby

The Recruiting Reel Episode 6: What to Hire for Other Than Skill

In this episode of The Recruiting Reel, Sarah Dabby of ClickTime shares insights on what to look for in candidates, other than skill set.

Here’s the transcript of the episode:

Josh Tolan: Hey everyone, my name is Josh Tolan and I’m the CEO of Spark Hire, the leading video interviewing platform used by thousands of organizations around the world.

And this is The Recruiting Reel, a video series in which we discuss real recruiting challenges with prominent recruiting experts so you walk away with actionable tips you can apply to your own recruiting.

The expert on today’s show is Sarah Dabby, Head of Talent at ClickTime, a time and expense tracking application serving thousands of organizations around the world. Sarah spends most of her days sourcing, connecting with, and hiring great people in many different areas. ClickTime’s headquarters is located in San Francisco, but they also have offices in Denver, Austin, and London so Sarah is constantly recruiting in some of the most competitive markets.

The topic of today’s episode is what to hire for other than skill. In Sarah’s experience at ClickTime, she’s discovered that there are several key characteristics of a great hire that just can’t be spotted on a resume. Thankfully, Sarah has some insight on how she evaluates the single characteristic that every successful ClickTime employee must have.  Take it away Sarah!

Sarah Dabby: Hi, I’m Sarah, Head of Talent at ClickTime, and I’m here to talk about what I look for in candidates. The most important thing we look for in a candidate is empathy. That’s important for two reasons, from the business perspective, our customers are King, so when we’re developing a new feature, rolling out a new product, or answering customer questions, we always have to keep the customer’s needs first.

Within in company, we’re a small team, we’re less than 30 people, so the ability to work across departments, communicate really clearly, and go above and beyond the call of duty for teammates is really important.

Empathy can be really tough to screen for, so we’re come up with a couple questions that have really helped us, and hopefully it will help you as well. The first one we ask is “When’s the last time you went above and beyond the call of duty?”. Now, this doesn’t have to be business related, it can be for a friend, for a family member, or even complete stranger, because a lot of times we get the most color and the most interesting perspective from stories that have nothing to do with a candidates work life.

The other question we tend to ask is “Have you ever failed a colleague, a teammate, or you company?”. We ask this because failure is inevitable on some level. We don’t expect people to be perfect, we don’t expect our candidates to do the right thing every single time. But we do care about how they react. If we have a candidate who just walks away from the experience and says “Oh, well, it wasn’t really my fault — it was somebody else’s fault, so I’m not going to take responsibility for it” that really doesn’t show that much empathy or really caring about the company. Whereas if someone walks away and they think really hard about it, and they feel really bad about it because they let somebody down, that means they care a lot about their colleagues, their teammates, and the company at large, and that they really want to people around them to succeed. That’s a quality that is really important to us at ClickTime.

I’m Sarah, and the number one thing we look for at ClickTime is empathy.

Josh Tolan: Empathy is definitely a very important characteristic to hire for other than skill. I’m sure most organizations with customer-facing positions can relate and found Sarah’s methods for evaluating this characteristic to be tremendously helpful. The important thing to keep in mind here is that these key characteristics are going to be specific to your company culture. So, define these key characteristics and then determine what methods you’re going to use to evaluate for them in the interview process.

I want to thank today’s expert, Sarah Dabby for coming on the show today. I encourage you to check out to learn more about their time and expense tracking application. And while you’re at it, follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahDabby and connect with her on LinkedIn using the URL below (

Thank you for watching The Recruiting Reel. For more HR and recruiting content, head over to and subscribe to our newsletter. Also, follow us on Twitter, @sparkhire. And subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first to know about the newest episodes of The Recruiting Reel.

Thanks again, and happy recruiting!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.