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Jake Kelly infographic, MERJE

It’s only natural to want to attract the best job applicants to apply for a given role so that you can successfully secure top talent which will add value to your business. However, it’s also important to recognise the personality traits which make a candidate stand out rather than blend in with the crowd. 

When you have a position to fill, it can be all too convenient sometimes to quickly fill it with the first person who, on paper, initially appears to have the necessary role requirements and qualifications.

However, it’s important to take the time to explore their soft skills as well, such as how efficiently they communicate, alongside their attitude and personality. This will increase your chances of finding someone who is the perfect fit for your organisation’s ethos and culture and will ultimately add value with what they can bring to the table.

Here our Financial Crime and Fraud consultant Jake Kelly discusses how to establish if someone is right for your business by considering the following traits during the hiring process.

Team spirited 

Ideally, you want to source a candidate who is happy to work within a team but is also able to operate on an individual level. Team players are able to enhance the work of their colleagues, provide motivation and inspiration, which will help you to achieve your business’s strategic goals. 

When you review any applications, look for words which demonstrate their commitment to being part of a team. They might include collaboration, partnership, participation and cooperation for example. When conducting interviews, ask the candidate to provide an example of when they worked as part of a team and what they achieved as a result. 

Highly motivated

Motivated employees will take the initiative and get the job done without being managed too strictly. Depending on the sector and position, ask candidates if they’ve taken the lead on projects, provided new ideas to help improve the business or persisted with a plan with little direction or instruction. Employees who are motivated tend to manage their time well, which makes them more productive and capable of completing projects quickly and efficiently.

Can-do attitude 

Hiring people who possess a positive outlook helps create a productive working environment and a vibrant office culture. Candidates who demonstrate genuine enthusiasm during their interview are more likely to tackle the job in hand with an attitude which drives tangible results.

Focussed on details 

Taking on candidates who pay attention to the details, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, show signs of being well-organised. Warning signs for people who might not display this trait can be spotted even as soon as they submit their CV, if it contains typos or inaccurate information. Another marker during the hiring process could be a failure to send requested information on time, indicating that the candidate might struggle to meet work deadlines. Detail focussed employees take pride in their work and usually get the job done right, first time.

Honest approach 

It’s important to trust your employees to behave professionally and treat their colleagues with respect when they are at work. Being good at a job is undoubtedly vital, but integrity is a characteristic which sets the best workers apart. Checking references and running background checks can help to ascertain how honestly a candidate has treated their job application. 

Flexible demeanour 

A good employee should be able to embrace change, accept challenges, move with the times, learn new skills and enthusiastically harness fresh ways of working. All of this is particularly prevalent in the current climate if businesses are to survive and prosper. During the interview, take the time to check whether the candidate appears to be open to new ideas and how flexible they seem during these times of uncertainty in particular and how they might enhance your business.

Trustworthy and reliable 

Sticking to commitments and hitting deadlines indicate that an employee is likely to be dependable. Candidates who show examples of reliable behaviour, such as following through with requests made during the application process and being on time for interviews, will make for better employees. Watch out for candidates who, during the interview, seem more concerned about work hours, perks and pay scales than the demands of the job in question. Also check their reference to see if they are described as being reliable and trustworthy.

Good work ethic 

Employees who display a strong work ethic often set demanding goals and strive to achieve them. During the interview, ask about a time when the candidate has gone above and beyond for previous employers. This could involve working overtime on a project to meet a deadline or achieving higher than expected levels of productivity. This information may be shared in a reference too. These are the employees who will do more than merely come to work every day and keep their heads down. They will also inspire others, be motivated and help you to achieve your commercial goals.

Confident communicator 

Having the ability to communicate properly with colleagues, senior managers and clients is a vital characteristic of the best workers. Assess an applicant’s communication skills via email, on the phone, on a video conference call and in person during the interview. This can be done both verbally through their choice of vocabulary and by analysing their body language. A good communicator will make their points with confidence, but are willing to listen and follow directions. They will also be keen to ask questions about the business and be open to constructive feedback.

Reassuringly self-assured

Candidates who have the qualifications, experience and skill-set required for the role should have confidence in their abilities. Self-assured employees won’t be afraid to take risks or try new tasks and are often willing to take on extra responsibilities when a client or colleague requires assistance. Aim to hire applicants who display confidence during the interview process as they will be more likely to jump into their role with no hesitation.

To discuss this article or any of your hiring needs in more detail please contact Jake Kelly at jkelly@merje.com. Stay tuned to the MERJE blog for more recruiting insights.