While a competitive candidate pool may seem like the ideal situation for hiring managers, it can quickly become difficult to distinguish which prospective employee would be the correct fit. While there is not one sole formula to determine the exact characteristics that compose the perfect job candidate, certain basic traits can give candidates an advantage. It is important to recognize that every candidate will have strengths and weaknesses; however, a demonstration of well-roundedness is something employers should always look for. When it comes time to make the hard decisions about who to hire, important qualities can be divided into two categories: “hard skills”, or those technical, job-specific skills, and “soft skills”, the more generic core characteristics of an employee. When you have multiple qualified candidates that all demonstrate a grasp on the hard skills required, the best way to figure out who comes out on top is to break down their eligibility by answering the following questions.
Do They Meet the Three C’s?
If you aren’t sure where to start when weighing the strengths of each candidate you’ve interviewed, begin by going over the Three C’s as outlined by The Undercover Recruiter. They are: contacts, credibility and competence. Contacts, or a candidate’s network, can greatly aid a company if they have a connection to a specialist that can fulfill specific business needs. Credibility relies on references from previous employers to back up the candidate’s claimed skills. And competence can be proven in exercises or work simulations during the interview process to garner whether the candidate has a thorough grasp on the concepts they’ll be working with on a daily basis.
Do They Have a Clean Background?
Background checks are a pivotal precaution in the hiring process. They provide a sorting mechanism to ward off bad hires, and will ensure the candidate you choose will work to grow the company instead of hinder it. Transunion now offers background checks with ShareAble for Hires to create a one-stop-shop for employers to verify the history of each candidate they interview. When you’re looking at a background check, make sure to keep an eye out for any indications that the candidate might be a liability to the company – such as prior arrests or outstanding warrants.
Do They Have Strong Soft Skills?
In order to truly understand the value of a job candidate, look past the “hard skills” and assess what kind of “soft skills” they have that could be useful for the position. Soft skills are talents that are not taught in a classroom and rely more on the interpersonal relationships a candidate is able to foster. Consider these ten qualities whenever you speak with a prospective employee:
- Emotional Intelligence
If you would prefer to focus on a few of the most important characteristics, let’s dive into the soft skills that could prove to be a deal beaker if the candidate doesn’t have them.
Integrity: this trait means a candidate demonstrates they are willing to going the extra mile out of a desire to be better, not just because their boss asks them to. Oftentimes integrity separates a good employee from a great employee, and it guarantees that they will improve a company instead of merely maintaining the status quo.
Positive attitude: finding a candidate with an upbeat and positive attitude will make all the difference in the workplace. Hiring candidates with an enjoyable attitude will help build camaraderie between employees, and will keep creativity high even if the work at hand is monotonous.
Organization: this skill will save the company time, stress, and money. Selecting a candidate that excels at forward-thinking and is able to set concrete goals allows the entire company to work smoothly. Without careful attention to detail, a candidate could easily become a liability for the company.
Ambition: the ability to maintain motivation over long periods of time is an excellent trait to look for in a candidate. You want to hire employees who are excited to work for you and advance their careers by working hard, so make sure to keep an eye out for a candidate’s readiness to persevere even when the going gets tough.
Attentiveness: this may be the single most important quality a candidate can possess. Being observant and detail-oriented will help not only their own work, but the work of the department or company as a whole. An attentive employee will notice when something needs to be improved or addressed at a higher level, and that’s the kind of critical thinking that can easily be rewarded with a raise.
Are They Tech-Savvy?
While the weight of this question is determined on a case by case basis for each available position, it’s rapidly becoming more important to have a basic understanding of tech no matter what industry you work in. Being able to work with computers and smart devices can bridge the gap between “hard skills” and “soft skills” because they demonstrate both learned and intuitive knowledge. Navigating social media, understanding SEO, and being proficient in common desktop programs can all set a candidate ahead of the competition.
When you’re faced with the tough decision of figuring out which candidate deserves the job, remember to step back from the skills outlined on their resume. A well-rounded candidate with positive past experience, a clean background, hearty interpersonal skills, and an affinity for tech can easily boost the value of your company – so start looking.