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Miriam Groom, Miriam Groom, founder of Mindful Career

Miriam Groom is the founder of Mindful Career, a national career counseling company, and is also a consultant for Groom & Associates recruitment firm.

Can you share a little about your background and experience in hiring and building successful teams?

I work in the Human Resources field as a Human Capital Strategist & IO (Industrial/Org) Therapist. I specialize in strategic and innovative talent management and workforce transformation strategies that are highly employee-centric. Being employee-centric means that I focus on gathering in-depth data driven insights and analytics via various assessments and systems that drive every strategy I lead. I always emphasize that I’m a retention expert, not just a recruitment specialist, because attracting and recruiting the right people from the start should be part of an overall retention plan. I’m also specialized in psychometric testing for succession planning, resolving interpersonal conflicts, creating more productive teams, and for grooming effective leaders.

My goal is to personalize every employees' experience at work in hopes that it will allow them to create a life of balance, purpose and fulfillment. Helping companies achieve this for their employees, and helping people discover their ideal role is my life's purpose.

What are the top 3 qualities you look for when hiring anyone.

  1. I want to emphasize that it completely depends on the role in question. There's no one-size-fits-all answer here. The type of person who will fit in a big multinational corporation will likely have different qualities compared to someone who thrives in a fast-paced tech startup or a philanthropic organization. Every workplace and role demands different skillsets and work styles. To answer your question, I can give three examples to illustrate how different roles require distinct top qualities. First off, imagine we're hiring for a role in a dynamic tech startup. Individuals who possess strong proactiveness and openness to experiences (traits identified by the Big Five personality assessment) are usually well-suited for this type of environment. Their proactiveness enables them to take initiative, identify opportunities, and drive forward progress without needing constant direction. They actively seek out challenges and are eager to learn and explore new ideas and technologies. Combined with their openness to experiences, these individuals embrace novelty, adapt quickly to change, and readily engage in creative problem-solving.Their proactive and open mindset allows them to seize opportunities, drive innovation, and navigate the uncertainties and challenges that come with building and scaling a successful startup venture.

  2. An administrative role in a philanthropic institution would require different essential skills and personality traits compared to the example above. According to the Big Five theory, someone with a high degree of conscientiousness would fare well here, as they tend to like planning, following guidelines, and predictable routines. In this example, someone who is calm and logical, highly organized, and who adheres to guidelines and processes would have the qualities I’d be looking for.

  3. Finally, for a collaborative position in a team-oriented corporate setting, effective communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence are key. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, foster collaboration and clarity in cross-functional projects. Candidates high in extraversion, as per the Big Five personality theory, tend to excel in collaborative environments, being sociable and outgoing. Agreeable individuals, characterized by kindness and cooperativeness, contribute to positive team dynamics. Agreeable people also may possess the emotional intelligence that allows people to navigate complex team dynamics, resolve conflicts, and build relationships. Considering these traits helps identify candidates with the necessary interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence for success in a collaborative corporate environment. Not every role requires high adaptability or teamwork. I think there’s an ideal job for everyone, but you just have to find the right fit.

What are some examples of questions you might ask during an interview to determine whether a candidate possesses these key qualities?

Psychometric tests will often be the most accurate way to help you identify candidates with ideal qualities.

In terms of an interview for a position that requires a high degree of agreeability and great communication skills (for example) you can ask them:

-Can you provide an example of a time when you had to effectively communicate complex information to a diverse audience? How did you ensure everyone understood the message?

-Describe a situation in which you encountered a communication challenge with a team member or client. How did you address it and what was the outcome?

-How do you adapt your communication style when interacting with individuals from different backgrounds or with varying levels of expertise?

-Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with a team to accomplish a shared goal. How did you contribute to maintaining a positive and collaborative team dynamic?

-Can you describe a situation in which you encountered a disagreement or conflict with a colleague? How did you handle it while maintaining a respectful and agreeable approach?

-Share an example of a time when you had to compromise or find common ground with others to reach a mutually beneficial solution.

If you had to assign weightings to the above qualities, which would get the highest weighting, and why?

Again, it depends on the job. List all of the non-negotiable hard skills needed for the role, the soft skills needed, and evaluate the position in terms of how much emotional intelligence and collaboration is required. I always say skills can be learned, experience can be acquired, but it's hard to change an attitude. The right attitude and innate qualities should be more important than years of experience.

How do you assess people for qualities like adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset during the hiring process?

Obviously, the interview process plays a crucial role in deciding whether candidates have qualities like these. Carefully crafting questions that relate to the candidate's experience is key. In many cases, I recommend going a step further by incorporating psychometric assessments that enhance the evaluation process, especially for executive positions and leadership roles.

Psychometric assessments are valuable tools that objectively measure psychological attributes and capabilities. To assess adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset, we can utilize a few specific assessments:

Personality Assessments: These assess traits like openness to experience, emotional stability, and conscientiousness, which are often linked to adaptability and resilience.

Cognitive Ability Assessments: These measure numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and critical thinking skills, indirectly indicating the candidate's potential for adaptability and growth mindset.

Situational Judgment Tests (SJT): By presenting realistic work scenarios, SJTs evaluate candidates' responses and offer insights into their adaptability, resilience, and growth-oriented mindset.

Psychometric assessments can provide additional insights, but they shouldn’t be the sole basis for decision-making. The hiring process should always include a multi-pronged approach that considers both objective and subjective factors to identify candidates with the desired qualities.

How do you balance evaluating a someone's technical skills with their soft skills and overall fit for your team and company culture?

You need to strike a balance between technical skills and soft skills, while also considering a candidate’s fit within your team and company culture. Technical skills are definitely easier to test and measure, so it's a good starting point. I highly recommend determining which skills are essential for the job, and which ones are more negotiable.

Let's take a practical example to explain this. For a position that requires strong C++ coding expertise, it's absolutely crucial to assess a candidate's proficiency in C++ coding. However, there may be other hard skills, like familiarity with a specific project management software, that can potentially be learned within a few days on the job. By identifying the core technical skills necessary vs. the “nice to have” ones, you ensure that candidates meet the required qualifications, while remaining flexible with other skills.

It goes without saying that a candidate usually needs to have the right soft skills for the position. Again, you can use various psychometric tests to assess if someone has the personality for the role and the team they’ll be working with. I don’t think hard skills are more important than soft skills or vice versa—you have to be diligent in evaluating both, and understand what the role requires.

Is there one particular source you tend to find the best candidates?

Online job sites are definitely a great starting point, as they attract a broad pool of talent, and I recommend checking out niche sites that cater specifically to your industry. These platforms can help you connect with candidates who possess specialized skills and knowledge relevant to your organization. But it's not just about posting a job and waiting for applications to pour in; recruiters should actively search through these job sites, reviewing the resumes and profiles of individuals who have added their CVs to the site. This proactive approach often uncovers hidden gems and saves time in the hiring process.

In addition to external sources, a good recruiter also taps into their own database. Over the years, recruiters build strong networks and maintain relationships with top professionals. Their database is a valuable resource that is constantly updated.

Do not forget about the power of social media. Platforms like LinkedIn and other social channels have become virtual hubs where professionals showcase their skills and experience. As a recruiter, you can take advantage of this by reaching out and engaging with potential candidates directly. You never know, your next all-star candidate might be just a dm away.

All of this is to say that no, there isn’t one particular source that yields the best talent every time. You will always need a varied approach to find great people.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to build a hiring process?

First things first, make sure you have a solid grasp of what each role requires. Take the time to chat with people who have been successful in similar positions. They can give you some valuable insights into the skills, experience, and qualities needed for those roles to shine.

Another important aspect is understanding and being able to communicate your company's culture. This way, you can figure out if the candidate will fit in well. If your company's culture hasn't been clearly defined, you can take this opportunity to start exploring and defining it. Having a clear understanding of your culture will help guide your evaluation process and ensure you're assessing candidates for the right cultural fit.

And here's another tip: reach out to professional recruiters who have experience in your specific role or industry. They've got insider knowledge and can offer some great advice. Having someone with expertise in your industry can give you a fresh perspective and help you fine-tune your approach.

Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?

LinkedIn or


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