People are the lifeblood of your business.

They perform the work that keeps things ticking, create the personality of your brand and nurture lifelong supporters of your business. Without people, businesses would cease to be. That’s why it’s essential that you hire the right people for your business.

In pipelines where 99% of candidates have strong qualifications and experience, it can be hard to choose an “outstanding” candidate from a pool of “good” candidates. This is where soft skills come in. Assessing the characteristics of a candidate will help you find talent who fits in with your company culture and who can deliver great value to your clients, colleagues and customers.

Here’s our take on the top five characteristics to look for in a candidate:

1.  Good communication skills

Communication is the gatekeeper to getting things done. Candidates need to be able to clearly communicate a point in verbal and written contexts. They also need to grasp the meaning in other people’s messages and know how to ask the right questions to acquire relevant information.

Poor communication skills can hinder the productivity of a team. Hiring candidates that don’t possess a high standard of written and verbal communication skills can impart frustration as well as bleed time and money.

2.  Self-motivated 

Self-starters enact the wings for your business to fly. Managers can’t keep tabs on all their workers at all times; They often have their hands full with their own work and obligations. That’s why you need to hire people who can be relied on to complete tasks from a results-driven perspective.

People who are self-motivated can readily recognise problems and develop solutions to resolve them. Other hallmarks of self-motivated employees include consistently meeting deadlines, showing up on time and sticking with commitments. We know this can be hard to discern from the short interaction you have with a candidate in an interview.

Here are some signs you can look for during the interview stages:

  • submitting their job application on time with all required details
  • punctuality to the interview
  • following through with requests made during the interview process.

You can also get a sense of the candidate’s self-motivation by contacting the people on their references list. The best candidates are those who readily share ideas and who aren’t afraid to take responsibility for their actions.

3.  Willingness to learn

Learning is a catalyst for transformation. New ideas, technology and insights are constantly coming out. A refusal to learn risks stagnation and redundancy. Hiring candidates who possess an innate sense of curiosity will help your business remain innovative, allowing you to readily adapt during changes in the market.

Learning is important – not just for the acquisition of new hard skills, but for growing as a person and professional. Candidates with a willingness to learn often see their new position as a challenge. They’re committed to using the job as an opportunity to extend their horizons as well fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.

Here are some questions you can ask to determine whether candidates have a willingness to learn:

  • What are your long-term/short-term career goals?
  • How do you measure your career success?
  •  What do you like to do outside of work? 
  •  What do you enjoy learning about?
  • What has been the biggest learning curb (so far) in your career?

The answers to these questions can help you understand the candidate’s work ethic and what’s important to the candidate holistically.

4.  Team player

Most jobs require collaboration with other people, even solitary-oriented professions like accounting and software development. Whether a candidate can work with others and fit in with your team is one of the most important onboarding considerations.

You can learn about a candidate’s sense of teamwork by asking about their experience working with teams and presenting hypothetical situations in which they’re working with a team to resolve certain situations. 

5.Positive attitude 

A positive attitude allows someone to seize the opportunity in any situation. The best candidates for your business are those who are motivated by something larger than themselves. This fuels their enthusiasm to work.

Whether it be the company vision, the company product, the work itself or the clients, people who are motivated by something larger than themselves are more likely to become loyal, long-term employees. There are always good and bad days in business. Those who adopt a positive attitude can readily summon the motivation to resolve challenges.

Positivity rubs off on the rest of the team, inspiring the organisation to be more up-beat and solutions-focused as a collective. If you want your business to be the best it can be, hire candidates who display a positive disposition.

The importance of a candidate’s character can’t be underestimated. Remember, skills can be taught. But attitude is mostly inherent to an individual.

Keen to make better hiring choices?

Sydpro is here to help. We’re a specialist recruitment agency with a great track-record in helping companies build amazing teams.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you fulfill your hiring needs!



June 2024