Top traits hiring managers are seeking from candidates

Recently I heard from three of the people who have just landed new jobs. Each did a terrific job of networking, putting together customized resumes that focused on key accomplishments and truly separated themselves from other candidates during the interview process.

In addition to doing the right things during a job search, candidates in today’s very competitive job market must have the “right stuff.” OK…so what is that?

From conversations with dozens of recruiters and hiring managers, I have compiled a list of the top traits that “ideal candidates” are expected to possess:

Excellent communication skills (written and verbal) – Let’s face it, if you cannot deliver your message or share your thoughts in a clear, concise and intelligent manner, how are you going to “work well with others” within the organization or develop strong relationships with clients? Whether you manage, lead or follow, you must be able to communicate very well and by any means (verbally, letter/memo, email, social media, etc.).

Self-confidence – Ask any salesperson how important they feel having a high degree of self-confidence is to their overall success. Remember, folks, we all sell…every day, regardless of our function/title at work. We pitch our ideas to co-workers, supervisors and/or clients. If we don’t have confidence in ourselves, our message, our suggestions, our work product…why should anyone else? Displaying self-confidence is one of the keys to having a great interview.

Team building – Today, more than ever before, we work in collaborative environments that officially or unofficially are team-based. For the most part, we cannot find ongoing success without the input, support and participation of co-workers. Thus, candidates who can demonstrate that they are able to either lead a team or make a team better as a result of their participation in such, are more desirable than those who are unable to do so.

Time management/planning and organization – No hiring manager wishes to have on their team an employee who is not well organized in regard to their approach to completing assignments. 

In today’s work environment, it is assumed/expected that ALL employees can multi-task; they have to do so because there are less people doing the same amount of work than there was a week ago, a month ago or a year ago. The work did not walk out the front door along with the outplaced employees who used to spend 40 hours (or more) a week doing it. That work was just re-allocated to the “survivors.” And those survivors are expected to get it all completed, in basically the same amount of time.

Leadership – Again, you don’t have to be the boss to lead. Everyone has the opportunity – each day – to lead by example. Managing is not leading. Managers are expected to do things right, leaders are expected to do the right things. So, whether you are going to be the CEO or the receptionist, the hiring manager wants proof of your ability to lead.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:15 PM, 05.17.2011