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Hiring Help: What traits to look for when interviewing

Posted by Margot Nash on October 28, 2013

Every hiring manager is looking for something a little different in their candidates. This can vary depending on culture and job requirements, but is typically very industry focused. For example, if you are looking for a Marketing Director, you would want someone who is excellent with grammar. However, for someone in the engineering industry, it is less important that they have impeccable grammar.

elements of successWhen it comes to job analysis with Hireology, each job family (industry) has a standard set of common "elements of success" or desired traits. Hireology uses a set of questions to help hiring managers pin point which of those traits are most important for their specific position. At times, it seems like everyone is looking for the same common traits in their candidates, despite the industry they work in. However, that isn't necessarily true. Core traits such as honesty, dependability and accountability are important in almost all industries, along with being proactive and ethical.

These traits being some of the most desirable isn't all that surprising. However, being driven, thorough, flexible and adaptable are toward the bottom of the popularity list. It may seem surprising that these traits fall at the lower end of the spectrum, because many people always say they are looking for these traits, and many job applicants pride themselves on these characteristics.

So, why are these traits not showing up at the top of the list in all of the job industries? If you were to be able to choose an uncapped list of all traits important for a position, these traits would likely appear on every single one. However, the line has to be drawn at some point, as you will never find someone with every desirable trait in the book. When analyzing the most important traits, things like being respectful, efficient and passionate tend to win out in many industries. That's not to say that it isn't still valuable to be adaptable in each industry, but it just means that other traits carry a heavier weight.

Another front runner is having similar values, which indicates a strong culture fit. Culture fit is important in almost every company across industries, because it allows for the employees and companies to mesh and create a better atmosphere for both sides. If candidates come in with similar values, they are more likely to be happy with the company long-term, which is important to decrease the likelihood of having high company turnover rates.

Though the desirability of these traits is pulled from Hireology customers, our customers hire for all different industries, job types and experience levels, and provide a great sample for the overall hiring population. As hiring managers, it is important to remember to focus on the most important traits for the role and industry at hand, and not pull in  every positive trait and label it a top priority in a candidates.

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Margot Nash

About the Author

Margot Nash is Hireology's VP of Product where she integrates her experience in psychology, selection consulting and recruitment into Hireology's platform. As a self-proclaimed "selection junkie," Margot has a true passion for understanding the psychology of success and is determined to pioneer a shift in the way businesses approach the hiring process.