Job Skills to Look For In New Hires

June 29th, 2012

Most experienced hiring managers have a strong understanding of what they don’t know. Early in our careers, we approach the interview process hoping to capture every piece of candidate data and close down every possible element of hiring risk. But as we grow, we come to recognize that data can only take us so far. After that, it’s time to roll the dice.

In other words, we all take chances with our final hiring decisions. We have to, otherwise we’d become paralyzed by our options and our positions would remain unfilled. With that in mind, there are a few telling traits that managers can search for among potential employees. These traits suggest a host of more complex qualities that tend, more often than not, to lead to success regardless of your specific industry.

The Hiring Process: Search for These Valuable Characteristics


The working environment is complex, and adversity and setbacks lie around every corner. Many of these setbacks take the familiar forms of criticism, condemnation, embarrassment, obstacle, and failure. Does your candidate bounce back fast from these events? Does she learn from them and put them behind her? Or does she carry the sting of these setbacks indefinitely, allowing them to influence her future decisions and limit her willingness to take risks? Choose resilient, steady candidates who shake off rough moments and move forward fast. 


Can your candidate do her job (and even go the extra mile) with limited resources? Does she always have one eye on the company budget and is she genuinely interested in cutting expenses and strengthening revenues? Look for candidates who see the big picture and stay tuned in to potential ways to save money.


How do you imagine your candidate responding to a sudden budget cutback? A staff shortage? An unexpected schedule change? Flexible candidates are those who stay focused on long term goals, and when they need to, they can turn on dime and come up with completely new ways to meet those goals. Flexible candidates improvise solutions to problems, and they thrive even in the absence of predictable circumstances or clear directions. 


Empathy is a powerful business tool as well as a powerful life skill. Can your candidate easily place herself in the position of another person, be it a client, coworker, top executive, or member of your target market? Empathy allows a great candidate to navigate the world of complex human behavior and anticipate what others want and need.


Consider the candidate across the desk during your final interview. What does she really want? Is she just looking for a way to pay the bills? Or does she genuinely care about your line of work and the customers and stakeholders you serve? Passionate candidates take their work to heart and weave it into the fabric of their identities. If you see this passion in your candidate and you fail to act, recognize that your competitors won’t be so hesitant. Do you want her on their team or yours?

Are you navigating tough hiring decisions? Our team of expert HR pros can help. Contact The Palmer Group, your Des Moines, IA staffing specialists.