Similar to how trick-or-treaters seek to find homes with the very best selection of delicious treats, employers are constantly looking for ways to identify candidates who possess all of the best qualities they are searching for. While technical skills are valuable, it’s only a small portion of what actually makes somebody successful. In addition to pure talent, your ideal candidate must exhibit essential soft skills and align with the company’s core values and its culture to ensure long-term success. This blog dives into the top qualities to search for in potential job seekers while offering guidance on how to identify if they will be a good fit for your team.
Five Qualities to Look For in Potential Job Candidates
1. Culture Fit
During the recruitment process, it’s critical you identify candidates who fit in well with your current company culture. While one primary objective is to hire talent, it’s also vital your new team members align with organizational values. You not only want to find people who can do the job, but you also want to know how they will do the job – and if it aligns with behavioral expectations outlined by company core values. Failing to achieve alignment in these critical areas often leads to friction, interpersonal conflict, and short duration of employment. Devote your efforts to finding ideal candidates who not only share the common beliefs of your current workforce but who will also be likely to stick around for the long haul.
2. Good Communication
Possessing strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary traits every employer should look for in a potential employee. Whether you’re in a client-facing role or simply engaged in internal communications, being able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives clearly and concisely is key to achieving personal and team success.
The inability to effectively communicate will likely have a significant negative impact on your organization. Internally, it impacts the ability to collaborate effectively with your peers which results in struggles defining roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Conversely, in client-facing roles, poor communication disrupts existing business relationships and presents obstacles in securing new ones.
3. Willingness to Learn
The willingness and drive to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, is one of the most important qualities you should be looking for when bringing on a new team member. Chances are, as with most new employees, there will be a steep learning curve when transitioning into a new role. Whether it involves learning the technical skills required to complete the essential functions of the job or just beginning to understand team dynamics, company culture, and organizational processes, having someone willing to dive in and get actively involved is crucial. Additionally, demonstrating a strong work ethic and enthusiasm to contribute to team success will go a long way in quickly gaining the respect of your peers. Stagnation amongst a workforce will lead to decreased productivity and will severely limit your organization’s ability to grow. It’s essential to recruit the right people and foster the ideal culture to prevent this scenario from happening.
4. Ability to Work With a Team
If you’ve had the experience of playing a team sport, you’ve also likely experienced the frustration of playing alongside a supremely talented teammate who lacks the awareness or drive to actually work well with the rest of the team. While individual talent can carry a team a long way, there comes a pivotal point where it becomes necessary for this individual to accept and embrace the help from their teammates. Refusal to accept this support will likely lead to failure while acknowledging and accepting it will almost certainly cause increased success. The dynamics of work teams mirror this type of situation.
Introducing new team members will always change the group dynamic, yet the hope is it will be a positive one. Seek out individuals who are willing to listen and learn while simultaneously contributing their own knowledge and past experiences with their new teammates. Finding this type of ideal balance early on will almost certainly improve the effectiveness and productivity of the team.
Looking beyond productivity, employees who collaborate well with others help ensure you maintain a positive, uplifting work culture. Oftentimes when a new team member, or an existing one, joins the team, but struggles to fit in or work harmoniously with others, it can create tension amongst the ranks. Having one rotten apple in the group can result in an uncomfortable work environment which ultimately leads to decreased production and overall employee satisfaction.
Very few roles require minimal problem solving and at this point, it can be considered an essential function of almost every job. The ability to think critically and devise practical solutions is a key quality for any candidate to have. In order to provide maximum value to a team, employees need to collaborate effectively and also have the ability to work autonomously on certain tasks. When hiring new employees, it’s crucial companies identify individuals committed to researching, evaluating, and resolving problems on their own. Resilient and determined individuals, as described above, exhibit many qualities of future leaders and serve as great examples for the rest of your workforce.
However, being an excellent problem solver does not mean you shouldn’t ask for help. Finding employees who recognize the importance of when to conduct their own due diligence and when to seek further guidance is paramount.
Resources and Tools to Help Identify if a Candidate is a Good Fit
Understanding the essential qualities to look for in a job candidate is a crucial skill, and there are various tools to aid in your pursuit. Utilizing a blend of behavioral assessments and practical demonstrations will help provide a more in-depth understanding of your candidate’s capabilities. This approach refines the selection process and will significantly enhance the likelihood of making a successful hiring decision.
If only one resource could be used to identify quality candidates during the recruitment process, the behavioral interview would be my preferred choice. Through structured questioning, this style of interview uses the candidate’s past experience to help predict future behavior. Focusing on past behavior in a variety of different situations helps employers more fully understand their candidate’s decision-making skills and their future ability to succeed in the role.
Another valuable and effective method for identifying a candidate’s compatibility with your company is through a DISC assessment. This evaluation offers valuable insights into their communication style, strengths, and potential future areas of conflict. Understanding and utilizing the results of their DISC assessment provides guidance on how to support the diverse communication profiles and motivational needs of the people on your team. Additionally, when you hire them, it gives you the tools to establish effective working relationships and best set them up for success.
Other Resources to Consider
Depending on the role, having a candidate complete a skills-based test or submit their work portfolio is a great way to evaluate their potential fit with your team. Assessing the candidate’s current skill level helps determine their ability to fulfill the essential functions outlined in the job description. Many employers are open to upskilling the right person, but a baseline proficiency is almost always a requirement. Candidates who are unable to provide tangible evidence of their technical ability will be removed from the hiring process. This is a quick, efficient way to help identify the best fit for your job opening. A note on skills tests and assessments – in order to avoid exposing your company to risk, any type of skills test must be related to the essential function of the job for which you are hiring. Additionally, our recommendation is if you ever require some type of deliverable related to the job, we recommend you pay the candidate for their time.
Need Help With Your Recruiting Process?
If you’ve been struggling to identify ideal candidates for your organization, Red Clover offers solutions. Our proven RPO processes have supported many small and mid-sized businesses in expanding their workforce while simultaneously improving work productivity and fostering a positive company culture. Whether it’s conducting individual or team DISC debriefs or training your hiring managers in behavioral interviewing techniques, we are here to help. Reach out today!