Here are the Top 5 Traits to Look for in a Candidate

Kristina Finseth

 

When looking to add a new employee to your organization, skill requirements seem to mostly be the top priority. However, there are traits that you should look for in a candidate to determine if they will be successful at your organization, and it's not just about checking off boxes.

Here's a look at the top five traits you should look for in a good candidate.

Culture Fit (Culture Add) Working in an office-type environment includes much more than just work. It offers many social opportunities as well. Some people choose to participate in this while others may not. However, the bottom line is that employees need to get along with one another. If a potential candidate does not seem like they will fit in with the current employees at the office, this may be a pretty substantial downside to their chances of getting an offer. Don't get me wrong - being a fit doesn't mean they have to be an exact replica or clone of your existing employees. They need to be able to compliment and add value to your existing team though.

Courage & Willingness to Learn No job is a perfect match to a candidate's best skills. Many candidates will fit the main requirements, and may have to learn the rest on the job. At many points, a job will require an employee to go out of their comfort zone. A good candidate is willing to take this "leap of faith," and is excited to learn about the parts of an industry or business they did not know much about before joining the organization.

Discipline This one is simple. Everyone wants hardworking employees who are willing to put in the extra mile to get the job done. People who stand out the most are those who come in early, stay late when needed, and put in extra work at home on nights and weekends when it's necessary. That doesn't mean that every job requires this all the time, but some do occasionally. Disciplined individuals get quality work done and invest themselves into what they do. Discipline is one of the most important and valuable traits that a candidate can come into an interview possessing, because they will likely make an impact on the organization.

Solid References More specific to people coming out of college with an internship or two under their belt, a lack of experience can be a challenge to candidates. To get a better feel of whether the candidate is qualified or not, check their references. This can be contacts from prior internships, volunteer experiences, and professors from college. Experience is definitely valuable, but for someone without experience, a reference or two can definitely attest to a candidate's work ethic and serve the same purpose.

Adaptability to Change Oftentimes in the workplace, especially more common in startups, many employers are looking for adaptable candidates. You know, the people who are able to work on a variety of different tasks, and who adapt as the work environment and priorities shift. For example, one week an employee could be working on something, and the next week they could be working on something completely different, even opposite. Being adaptable and versatile is one of the most attractive traits in a candidate.

Realistically, few candidates will have all five of these traits. If they do, they deserve strong consideration. However, these five traits make up the most valuable employees, creating a workforce that will have the most impact on an organization.

---

What other top traits do you look for in a candidate?