Hiring? 5 Qualities to Look for in Your Ideal Candidate

Hiring? 5 Qualities to Look for in Your Ideal Candidate

The cost of hiring a new employee varies widely by role and industry. It’s typically lower in the service sector, which is characterized by relatively low skills requirements and relatively high turnover rates. In industries and roles that require specialized knowledge, hard-to-acquire credentials, and lots of on- or off-the-job training, it’s likely to be higher.

No matter the cost, hiring isn’t optional. If you want your company to grow, thrive, and maintain its competitive edge in a changing marketplace, you need to constantly be on the lookout for qualified candidates. Of course, the sooner you find the right fit, the less you’ll spend along the way.

Let’s take a look at seven candidate qualities you need to look for right off the bat.

1. The Ability to Self-Motivate

Not everyone has a talent for self-motivation. During the hiring process, ask candidates to describe situations or roles in which they’ve had substantial autonomy. How did they motivate themselves to get tasks done in timely fashion? How did they hold themselves accountable? What changes did they make to improve their productivity and performance?

Cross-reference these answers with candidates’ prior supervisors — don’t simply take their word for it. And, if you have the resources, subject each promising candidate to trial runs covering situations they’re likely to encounter on the job.

2. Willingness to Take on New Roles or Duties

In an ever-evolving competitive landscape, the most successful employees are those who willingly take on new roles or duties as business needs demand. This is easier said than done, writes American philosopher Arnold Siegel.

“We don’t like to leave our comfort zones. We like what we’re familiar with and know how to do,” he explains. “Besides, change and adaptation require new ways of thinking, new accommodations and new expenditures of energy.”

When you find candidates, who’ve demonstrated their willingness and ability to be flexible, don’t hesitate. As long as they’re well-suited to the position, hire them.

3. Openness to Constructive Criticism

Openness to constructive — not punitive — criticism is nearly as important as role-related flexibility. Look for candidates who can articulate when and how they’ve incorporated tough feedback into their duties. Learn to differentiate between those who say they’re open to such feedback and those who’ve actually shown their willingness to learn from it.

Constructive Criticism
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By hafakot

4. Planetary Vision

You’ve heard of “tunnel vision.” Planetary vision is essentially the opposite: a broad-based, high-level view of the problem at hand.

If you’ve never heard “planetary vision” used in context, don’t worry — it goes by many different names. Employees with planetary vision calmly and resolutely face rapidly developing issues without getting bogged down in the details or overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. When the chips are down, these are the people you want on your team.

5. Optimistic Worldview

Optimism is a valuable asset in any workplace. While it’s critical for your hires to be realistic and resistant to self-delusion, it’s just as important that you surround yourself with people whose first instinct is to ask what it will take to make something happen — not to begin griping about all the things that might go wrong along the way.

Optimistic Worldview - no negative thoughts allowed
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Gustavo Frazao

A Holistic Approach to Hiring

These aren’t the only five qualities that hiring managers can or should look for in candidates. And it goes without saying that different roles require different mixes of characteristics and skills — a junior developer doesn’t need executive leadership skills, just as C-level consumer products execs don’t need to be Ruby on Rails whizzes.

Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to take a holistic approach to the hiring process, and to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Featured Image from Shutterstock - By Makyzz

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