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6 traits that executives look for when making hiring decisions

hiring decisions

If you were to look behind the scenes at just about any of the world’s top companies, you’d probably find that they all have one thing in common – an aggressive strategy for recruiting. After all, they call it the “war for talent” for a reason. There’s an understanding that finding the best possible employees is a must. If you don’t land the elite talent, your competitors will. World-class employers know this, and they fight for prized recruits accordingly.

But what are they looking for, exactly? It’s so difficult to tell, just by looking at a resume and cover letter, who are the best recruits to go after. Everyone looks more or less the same on paper, and just because someone has an impressive educational history or professional background doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be a good fit. Conversely, someone who doesn’t jump off the resume page might actually thrive.

This is why recruiters use the interview process as a chance to dig deep into each candidate’s character and find out what sets them apart. According to the Booher Research Institute, there are a few key traits they’re looking for. Dianna Booher, author of “What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It,” noted that many top executives like Virgin’s Richard Branson and Apple’s Angela Ahrendts are all looking for the same things.

“You may or may not be in the market for a new job,” Booher noted. “Yet, what executives look for when they staff their organizations suggests as much about the priorities and personalities as the new hire’s own. So if you intend to set up a strategic partnership with them, sell to them, socialize with them or work for them, learning what they value never hurts.”

The following are six character traits that the best employers are often looking for:

A clear work ethic
Is the candidate hardworking? Do they have a history of getting a lot done in a timely fashion? Productivity is obviously a key goal.

A track record of dependability
No one wants an employee who will flake on an important project or fail to do their part to help the team. Employers want people they can rely on.

Flexible work styles
The best employees are self-motivated and can finish projects on their own, but they’re also cooperative and can work as part of a team. They should have the flexibility for both.

Confidence, even under pressure
When there’s an important project to finish and the clock is ticking, does the applicant have what it takes to follow through? Confidence is key in these situations.

Strong communication skills
Collaborating with a team of co-workers requires communicating well at all times. Does the applicant have the ability to convey ideas clearly and cordially?

A positive, can-do attitude
No one wants an employee who shies away from a challenge when things get tough. The best recruits are those who come in with a positive attitude and are prepared for whatever comes their way.

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