A recent survey by Career Builder reports that more than two-thirds of employers were affected by a bad hire last year. Of nearly 2,700 employers surveyed, 41% estimate a single bad hire cost $25,000; a quarter estimate a bad choice cost $50,000 or more – not to mention the demoralizing effect of the issue on other employees and on the new hire. To avoid bad hires, one company uses an unconventional hiring strategy, which gives more weight to seven personal characteristics rather than relevant skills and experience. These characteristics are: respect, belief, loyalty, commitment, trust, courage and gratitude. Ideal hires bring traditional and job-specific capabilities and high proficiencies in these seven core traits. First, the company asks potential candidates to tell them about situations where they have exemplified each of the non-negotiable traits. They also ask the same questions of the individual’s references – not the references they list on their resume, but of their former co-workers, associates and bosses that they identify independently. As a result, the company has built an extremely loyal, talented and well-rounded base of employees.