Recruiting Strategy

What Are the Most Important Characteristics to Look for When Hiring?

What Are the Most Important Characteristics to Look for When Hiring?
HireHive Team

HireHive Team


Every single candidate you consider for your open jobs will be different. Personality, culture, experience, and background are all completely individual. But humans have some shared traits that, when cultivated, help them become better versions of themselves. What characteristics are most important to look for when hiring new talent? And how can you be sure that your new hire will be a good match for your current team and company culture? 

Here are the characteristics you should look for before making your next hiring decision.

Soft Skills

It's essential to understand what soft skills are in relation to hiring. Hard skills are easy to understand. For example, you might need a computer developer with experience in C++? Soft skills are less concrete but no less critical. Soft skills include: 

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Adaptability 
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity 
  • Leadership

Understanding how these characteristics come together to paint a picture of the candidate will help determine if they're suitable for your company. 

Long-Term Goals

While you want to hire someone for your current position, it's also helpful to understand where they want to take their career in the coming years. The ability to establish long-term goals and have the self-awareness to know how they want to steer their career will benefit you and your organization. Someone with a strong sense of where they're heading will be more motivated to learn new things, improve their soft skills, and meet the goals established for their position. 

Competency and Proven Results

Now we turn back to the hard skills. You need to hire someone who is a match for the position or who has the potential to learn and grow in this role. When evaluating someone's background, you'll need to determine if their experience level matches your position. You also want to see the proven results. Look at data on their resume providing details about how their work benefited their employers. And don't forget the step of verifying references to ensure that this information is accurate. 

Passion and Excitement

Sometimes hiring is all about attitude. No one wants to work with someone negative all the time. You want to work with someone excited about what they do and passionate enough to do it at a high level. This enthusiasm should be apparent in the interview and not wane throughout the process. That doesn't mean your employee will never have negative thoughts or a bad day, but they have a genuine excitement for their work. 

Ability to Take Action

Another critical characteristic of your new hire is their ability to take action. You want to work with a self-starter who is willing to make decisions based on their knowledge and take action to work toward a solution or an outcome. As a manager, you already have plenty on your plate, so the need to micromanage an employee isn't one of your more desired tasks. Trust your new team member that they have the expertise you need and encourage them to take the initiative. 

Shared Values

You've probably heard a lot of talk about creating your company culture. This includes your mission, vision, and values. Good examples of company culture include Google, which is quickly recognizable anywhere globally, and several other international brands. But company culture isn't just ping pong tables or reasonable remote work arrangements. It also comes down to shared values. There are many different forms of company culture. It's vital that you consider shared personal values when deciding as long as you're not using that as a basis for discrimination. 

Team Work 

Very few employees work entirely on their own. Even when working remotely, your new team member will need to interact with others. How they work with coworkers and management will be an essential factor to consider during the hiring process. You can assess this by asking them directly how they typically operate as part of a team and how they communicate effectively. 

Honesty and Integrity 

You also want to be sure that the candidates you're hiring are honest in every aspect of their lives and career. Integrity means that they won't cut corners, won't provide misinformation, and won't deliberately obscure important information. Determining honesty and integrity doesn't have a specific form of measurement, but you'll be able to see how they comport themselves and verify some of this information in the references. 

Emotional Intelligence

A current topic of conversation is emotional intelligence as a hiring consideration. Emotional intelligence is comprised of empathy, self-awareness, social awareness, cultural awareness, and the ability to defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence contributes to your employees' ability to accept constructive criticism and take responsibility, move on after a mistake, say no when necessary, have good listening skills, and solve problems that work for everyone. 

Dependability and Reliability 

Hiring a new employee can also feel like a gamble when you're not sure if they are reliable. A reference can help with this process, but reliability will become apparent over time. You can look for clues on their dependability, such as how long they were with their last company, how they interacted with others, and if they were on time for the interview. 

Conclusion: The Characteristics for Hiring

You can use technology to help you assess specific essential characteristics when you're hiring. An AI-assisted applicant tracking system can provide you with additional insights as you search for candidates who are a match for the skills and background of the job. 

With more competition for top talent, it pays for companies to consider all their advantages and the use of tools to assist in the quest to find talent. HireHive helps busy people hire great people. By having your entire recruitment process all in one place, you can post jobs, streamline your online application process, improve the candidate experience, and tap into vast global networks.

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