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Once the applications pour in, it’s time to pick the right person for that open role in your company. With resumes packed with skills and stellar LinkedIn profiles, you may have a hard time figuring out how to choose the best candidate for the job. Good thing we have some hiring tips for you, especially about the employee characteristics you need to look out for in your next hire!

Your ideal candidate should be highly competent in the role they have applied for, without a doubt. However, with enough candidates preparing themselves with the practical skills they need to excel at their role, hiring managers need to consider more value-based and behavioral characteristics that are telling of how well or not well the new employee will perform once they join the team.

Here are 10 employee characteristics you need to look out for in your next hire:

10 Employee Characteristics To Help You Find your Next Hire

1. They have a “take charge” attitude

One characteristic of a great hire is their ability to take charge and be proactive in their work— from being able to turn goals into tasks to finding errors in projects without being asked to find them. You want an employee who is thorough with their work, ensuring they find the mistakes and gaps that they seemed to miss out on.

You can see this attitude by the way they interact with you during the interview process. Do they send an email, thanking you after the interview? Are they actively responding and carrying the conversation with you in the interview?

2. They value timeliness.

While it may not seem like a crucial characteristic to prioritize, being on time must be a factor when choosing a new employee. This is because being late shows that the employee doesn’t take the work seriously or doesn’t respect the employee. 

So, if a candidate is late to an interview or doesn’t send in the assignment when they said they would and doesn’t leave a message informing you of the delay, you might want to reconsider hiring them.

3. They are honest.

Now, even if a candidate is late for an assignment or an interview, the worst thing they can do is lie about why they are late. If one of the first interactions you have with your potential candidate is a lie, you’ll have to put them in the maybe pile, or even the rejected stack of resumes.

You want an employee who is honest with you, despite how small their real reason might be. An employee who lies is one who can’t take responsibility when things go wrong.

Honesty doesn’t just stop at being transparent about themselves. The candidate must also be able to be honest with their opinions, even if it means going against the manager’s opinion. That’s when you know your candidate cares about success rather than just pleasing people in the team.

4. They are solution-oriented

There’s one question that can help you reveal a lot from your candidates.

“Imagine a setting where you’re the manager. What would you do if you come across a problem and the solution you provided isn’t working and your co-worker suggested another solution?”

How your candidate answers the question can tell a lot about their approach to problem-solving. A candidate with ego and focused on solving the issue by themself would insist on using their own approach. A candidate who is solution-oriented would be able to listen to his team members and try their method instead of insisting on doing it their way.

This also shows that they are a team player, instead of making it about their own wins.

5. They are open to learning

Your new candidate doesn’t have to be the best at the job. Their skills don’t need to be polished to fit the latest industry standards. Let’s be honest, no candidate is ever that perfect. While they still do need to check off boxes like having the basics in place, you might want to focus on another employee characteristic that really makes them shine.

Your new hire must be open to learning. They should be open about the fact that they aren’t the best but, they are willing to work towards ensuring they are. Your new candidate should be enthusiastic about taking up online courses and workshops to learn more about the field and stay updated about the latest industry standards.

6. They think independently

Your new hire should be able to speak their mind and voice their opinions or ideas on how to approach work. You hire someone for what they bring to the table rather than just following orders as they are given. 

A great way to learn whether a candidate is an independent thinker is through the assignment they are given. Do they have a logical reason for why they submitted their work the way they did. Do they follow the most common practices or try to implement their own methods within their work? 

7. They collaborate with others

Your candidate must be open to collaborating with others in the team, especially if your team is small and growing. If your potential employee is particular about working independently or doesn’t delegate tasks, you might find it hard to make progress on large projects and have a synchronized flow of work.

Ask the candidate about their experience working in a team and what skills they bring to a large team within a department. You can even ask questions that give a better picture of what challenges the candidate has tackled when working on a task with a team.

Read more: Team Collaboration Tools For 2020

8. They can recognize their weaknesses

Everyone has weaknesses, this is just how humans are. But, someone who can’t recognize what they aren’t good at is always a red flag. Many interviewers often ask the question “What are your weaknesses?”. This question isn’t just framed to know what the candidate lacks; it also points out how self-aware your potential employee is.

9. They ask the right questions

Traditionally, interviews are one-sided, with the hiring manager asking all the questions. An employee characteristic of a good hire is if they are also participating in the interview— asking questions about their role, the different parts of their job descriptions, and clarifying any doubts they have. 

This shows they aren’t just applying for the sake of applying. They’ve done their homework and want to be as sure of the role they are interested in as you want to be sure of your decision to hire them.

10. They know what they want in their career

The right hire knows where they are headed and working within your team is a conscious effort on their part. The question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” isn’t one that hiring managers ask to ensure the candidate stays with them for the next 5 years. It’s actually asked to help HRs gauge the candidate’s self-assuredness and how they are navigating their career path.

We hope this helps you find a candidate with employee characteristics that make them a perfect fit for your company.

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