When it comes time to search for a new employee, it can be a little daunting to know what exactly to look for. Apart from specialized skills needed for a role, you need to think about what character traits might be the most important, and how do you go about spotting them.
Whether you’re choosing to hire a new recruit yourself or using the services of a recruitment firm like Robert Half, there are three key traits that should definitely be on your “must-have” list.
1. Positive Attitude: Do you want to work with a grouch?
A job candidate’s attitude is a major aspect you want to assess in an interview. Former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher is quoted as saying, “We can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude.”
Indeed, the right kind of attitude goes a long way in business and can make the difference between a positive team willing to pull all the stops to make a business the best it can be, and one in which negativity is rife and people can’t wait to leave. Simply ask yourself: Do you know anyone who wants to work with an unhappy, negative team member? Of course not, so keep an eye out for job candidates that have approachable body language, smile and laugh a lot, appear quite relaxed, and generally seem to have a ‘glass is half full’ outlook on life.
Enthusiastic staff members will help to bring a team together, will refuse to get discouraged, and will be more willing to learn on the job and do what it takes to get things done. These types of workers contribute to a positive company culture that benefits not just team members, but also customers, prospective employees, and investors.
2. Initiative: The autonomous worker
The right attitude alone does not, however, guarantee a great hire. You also want to make sure that your candidate has the ability to take initiative. While some employees will do the bare minimum during their work day, and always wait to be told what to do, others will find ways to add value to their employer and their company.
Autonomous workers will be able to get their job done without being micro-managed, and will also find other tasks to complete without needing to be told. People with a “self-monitoring” personality type generally like to work independently and efficiently, and will often be the ones to come up with innovative ideas or ways to save money or increase sales. As an added benefit, self-motivation in employees is a very valuable trait that can also tend to rub off on other staff members. You can determine if a job candidate is likely to be a self-starter, by asking various open-ended questions in interviews so that you can get some insight into their thought processes and patterns of behavior.
3. Flexibility: Prepared for ever changing environments
Last but not least, you have to keep an eye on the flexibility of your candidate. Adaptable team members can bring a lot to a business, especially in small, growing companies where job roles tend to have to expand and change over time as the firm gets bigger and more established.
Flexible staff members will be happy to help out in other roles or departments when needed, and will cope better in constantly-changing business environments or industries. Versatile employees also tend to have a higher level of problem-solving ability, and are more likely to learn new technologies or come up with creative solutions for company problems. To find out if a job candidate has a flexible style, ask them for examples of problems they’ve solved in past roles, new systems or technologies they have learnt or implemented, and skills they’d like to learn in the future.
If you are good at spotting these vital character traits in your candidates, you should not have to fear a bad hire!
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
Tim Windhof is a published and enthusiastic Resume Writer and Career Coach who is fascinated by helping people take their careers to the next level. Tim is a resume expert and educator for the American Writers and Artists, Inc. and their Resume Writer Training program. Tim has written interview-yielding resumes for clients from the US, Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
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