An organization’s potential for success depends on the strength of its employees. This reality creates pressure on recruiters to engineer a hiring process that eliminates all but the most qualified candidates. While a candidate must possess the requisite ability to perform a job competently, companies often enjoy better outcomes by remembering that skills can be taught, while a person’s attitude, adaptability, willingness to learn, and work ethic are inherent.
Faced with a sea of applicants, how can companies identify those who will seamlessly blend into their workforces and strive to advance their success? The key may be to reach beyond the resume and focus on a candidate’s core attributes. Here are some traits that the ideal hire should possess:
1) Cultural fit. Recruiters are increasingly describing “cultural fit” as a requirement for new hires. Although the label is somewhat vague, an employee who is a strong cultural fit is far more likely to remain with the organization and contribute to its success. In order to identify cultural fits, recruiters must have a thorough understanding of what their corporate culture is like for employees. A survey of the current workforce will provide valuable insight. Ask employees what they like best about working for the company, what they would change, and how they perceive the culture. Is it formal or laid-back? Are there employer-sponsored social activities? If so, what are they? However, the process of finding a cultural fit extends beyond merely identifying someone who will appreciate the company’s dress code and after-work activities. An organization’s mission, values, and goals are at the heart of its company culture, so recruiters should focus on candidates whose characteristics will align with these. By the time that they land an interview, successful candidates will have educated themselves about the organization’s core mission and be able to articulate how they will advance it.
2) Flexibility. Is the candidate open to learning new skills and performing duties that may be outside of their job descriptions, but are necessary to accomplish the task at hand? Employees who are willing to depart from the routine in order to implement new ideas are crucial to driving innovation within a company.
3) Self-motivated. Along with an excellent work ethic, strong candidates will possess the motivation to accept and accomplish tasks with minimal guidance. Successful managers should be able to focus on moving the company forward rather than micromanaging employees. However, while the ability to work independently is crucial, candidates must also be able to cooperate with a team.
4) Intellectual curiosity. The ideal candidate should be someone who constantly seeks to expand his or her knowledge, learn more about the company and industry, and develop new skill sets. An employee’s commitment to her own growth is a strong indicator that she will be committed to helping the company grow. During the interview process, individuals may reveal their intellectual curiosity by asking plenty of questions and displaying a genuine interest in learning more about the position, company, and especially the organization’s core mission, goals, and values.
5) Perseverance. Recruiters sometimes admire an individual’s “grit,” or his or her willingness to accept difficult tasks and see them through to victory, regardless of challenging circumstances. Research has indicated that grit is more indicative of success than IQ.
While finding a candidate with the ideal combination of knowledge, experience, and personality may be time-consuming and frustrating, it is a process with far-reaching implications and therefore should not be rushed. Poor hiring choices result in disengaged employees, which leads to lower productivity, higher turnover, and the increased costs of having to fill the position again. Some companies find that using hands-on assessments during the recruitment process that mirror the tasks that a candidate would face in the position help them to identify those who with the greatest potential for success. Another strategy is to constantly be searching for talent, even when the company is not hiring. When a position does open, the recruiters will already have a pool of qualified contacts.
(Sources: https://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/4483/identifying-four-elements-that-make-an-amazing-hire, https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/how-to-always-hire-the-right-talent.html, https://www.businessinsider.com/qualities-google-looks-for-in-job-candidates-2014-4).
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