Put simply, hiring the right employees is hard. As the economy continues to recover, and businesses begin to open their wallets to pay top dollar for quality talent, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for smaller businesses to compete – especially when constrained by tight budgets. With that said, you can’t afford to make a mistake or to take a chance on a hire. You must know which qualities are important when sorting through applications and conducting interviews.
Five Qualities You Need to Look For
In particular, the following qualities stand out. Candidates with these intrinsic values are the proverbial cream of the crop. If you find an applicant with these, don’t delay your decision to extend a job offer.
- Professionalism. According to a survey conducted by Universum, a Stockholm-based employer branding firm, professionalism is always near the top of the wish list. In fact, it was the single most important trait in 2012, with 86 percent of hiring managers searching for a high level of professionalism in candidates. But what exactly does professionalism entail? Generally, it refers to following company policies, being pleasant to those around you, speaking up when there are problems, taking work seriously, and prioritizing work responsibilities when you’re on the clock.
- Willingness to learn. You should also be on the lookout for a willingness to learn. This quality can be difficult to spot during short encounters or interviews, but there are some telltale signs. Any time a candidate has pursued a higher level of education, there’s an indication that they value learning and continually improving. That’s why more than nine out of ten employers plan on hiring recent MBA graduates this year. An employee who’s willing to learn is an employee who’ll grow over time.
- Initiative. Along with a willingness to learn usually comes initiative. Employees with this quality are willing to take action even when they aren’t given direction. They know when something needs to be done and won’t wait to be told. It’s one of those qualities that can’t be taught and should be highly valued.
- Flexibility. You need employees who’re willing to go with the flow and adapt new styles, policies, and duties as they arise. Look for flexibility in candidates by asking questions about times in which they were forced to do things they didn’t want to do. Listen to their response. Did they become frustrated, or did they adapt?
- Honesty and integrity. Two of the most important qualities in a person are honesty and integrity. While you can compensate for a lot of deficiencies, you can’t balance out a lack of these values. “Integrity is conforming reality to our words – in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations,” Stephen R. Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (pp.195-196). You need people who can do this, and you should value honesty and integrity in new hires.
Make Smart Hiring Decisions
Ultimately, it comes down to finding candidates who you believe will align with your company’s values and thrive in the midst of pressure. If you’re always looking for these five qualities in potential hires, you’ll rarely mess up. Each of these points to a quality employee who’s willing and able to make your goals their priorities.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Every Business Should Have These Five Employee Qualities on Their Wish List
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