Knowing what to look for in an employee will help you when making hiring decisions. Consider not just their qualifications on paper, but also their soft skills and emotional intelligence. A candidate with the ability to communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and adapt to new situations can often bring more value to a team than someone with impressive job skills but lacking in interpersonal abilities.
When assessing potential employees, look beyond just their technical skills and experience. While these are important, key qualifications like adaptability, problem-solving skills, and a growth mindset should be at the forefront of your hiring decisions. Check out our 12 qualities to look for when hiring an employee.
1. Cultural Fit
When hiring, you’ll want individuals who align with your company’s values, mission, and working style. Look for candidates who exhibit these attributes of a good employee—adaptability and flexibility. Those who can quickly pivot, embrace change, and thrive in a dynamic environment are invaluable assets and contribute to your overall company culture.
Prioritize candidates who show a genuine passion for their work and a willingness to go above and beyond. Placing importance on cultural fit when evaluating potential candidates will help ensure long-term success for both the individual hired and your company as a whole.
Need to determine who to hire? Check out our guide on how to find employees you’ll love.
2. Emotional Intelligence
This skill enables individuals to understand and manage their own emotions as well as navigate social interactions with empathy and tact. Look for candidates who demonstrate self-awareness, an understanding of their own emotions, and the ability to manage them in high-pressure situations.
These qualities can foster better relationships with team members and clients, leading to a more positive work culture. Those who are in tune with their emotions are more likely to think critically and communicate effectively.
3. Skills and Experience
We speak a lot about qualities in candidates that are considered natural. However, when hiring a new employee, you do want to look for the necessary skills and experience the candidate brings to the position. A positive employee with a great work ethic is definitely something to consider—but if they don’t have the skills or experience to perform the job, they may not be a great fit.
Look for a candidate who has a background similar to the position you are hiring for. For instance, if you are hiring for a marketing position, you will want to be sure the candidate has worked in marketing in their previous roles. During the interview, have the candidate walk you through their resume and discuss how their skills and experience line up with the position you are hiring for.
According to a TestGorilla survey, 86% of candidates believe the opportunity to showcase their role-relevant skills would increase their likelihood of securing their dream job.
Consider how potential employees communicate and interact with others. Both verbal and non-verbal communication skills are vital to maintaining a productive work environment. Look for someone who displays active listening, clarity in expressing ideas, and openness to feedback.
Evaluating communication alongside technical expertise can help ensure that your new hires not only meet job requirements but also strengthen your team culture. Assess how the candidate handles interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, and collaboration to gauge whether they will integrate smoothly into your team dynamic.
5. Work Ethic
A strong work ethic speaks volumes about an individual’s commitment, discipline, and reliability. Look for candidates who have a track record of going the extra mile in their previous roles and demonstrate a commitment to achieving results. A good work ethic is contagious and this type of candidate can bring a renewed sense of productivity to your team.
When you hone in on good employee traits, like work ethic, and are ready to make a hire, check out our guide on how to hire employees.
An adaptable employee navigates change more effectively while bringing flexibility and an open mind. The ability to embrace change, learn new skills, and navigate unfamiliar situations is invaluable in fostering growth within your company. Look for candidates who have demonstrated resilience and flexibility in previous roles or have shown a willingness to step outside their comfort zone.
These qualities are indicative of an individual who can thrive in a dynamic work environment and bring valuable perspectives to your company. Employees with strong adaptability will help drive innovation within your company while tackling unforeseen obstacles with grace.
Consider the candidate’s passion and drive. Employees who are passionate about their work often excel in their roles. They are more likely to show initiative and exceed expectations. During the hiring process, ask candidates what motivates them professionally and inquire about past projects that inspired them.
Passionate employees not only contribute to their work environment but also tend to be more engaged and committed long term. Those who show initiative and take ownership of tasks can set themselves apart from others.
A collaborative spirit is essential for fostering effective teamwork and driving collective success. The ability to work well with others is pivotal in promoting a positive company culture and achieving goals. Seek out candidates who not only possess strong individual capabilities but also thrive in a team setting and build supportive relationships with colleagues.
Good team players don’t just coexist with their fellow colleagues; they actively seek ways to complement and support their team member’s strengths and skills. Their ability to adapt and empathize fosters an inclusive environment where every voice is valued and every contribution is recognized.
9. Critical Thinking
This soft skill enables candidates to analyze complex situations, make sound judgments, and solve problems effectively. Look for individuals who can demonstrate their ability to think critically by asking them scenario-based questions or presenting them with real-world challenges during the interview process.
What sets these candidates apart is their eagerness to challenge the status quo and seek out unconventional solutions. While many applicants may have impressive resumes and qualifications, it’s often those who can demonstrate their critical thinking abilities that leave a lasting impression.
10. Problem-solving Abilities
The ability to analyze complex issues from multiple angles and generate effective solutions can lead to improved decision-making processes. Encouraging employees who bring innovative problem-solving skills can result in greater efficiency and effectiveness across your entire company. Look for candidates who are adept at navigating obstacles, can adapt to change, and find creative solutions to overcome challenges.
These types of employees can inspire and motivate their colleagues by creating a culture of proactive problem-solving within the company. They likely lead innovative solutions and drive an environment of continuous improvement.
11. Positive Attitude
Positivity can be infectious. A candidate who exudes optimism and enthusiasm can bring energy and motivation to the workplace. Look for candidates who naturally have this optimism and a willingness to take on challenges with positivity. A positive attitude often indicates adaptability, which is essential in navigating challenges and driving growth.
A candidate with a positive mindset tends to use optimistic language, express gratitude, and show enthusiasm about the role and company. During the interview, ask for examples of how they’ve handled previous setbacks or difficult situations, as this can provide a glimpse into their overall outlook on life and work.
12. Growth Mindset
When it comes to finding exceptional leaders, it’s essential to seek out candidates with a growth mindset. These individuals are driven by a desire to continuously develop and improve, making them natural fits for roles that require adaptability and innovation. Prioritize candidates who embody this mindset as they can cultivate an environment of continuous learning, creativity, and resilience.
Candidates with a growth mindset typically thrive in dynamic environments, embracing failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a setback. They are not afraid to take risks and experiment with new ideas, which can drive your entire team forward toward success.
Check out our best interview questions to ask candidates, which provide questions to determine cultural fit, work ethic, skills assessment, and job-specific questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A potential employee should exhibit the ability to learn quickly and adapt to changes in the workplace. They should also have the capacity to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients. A strong team player who can collaborate and contribute positively within a group setting is invaluable.
A good employee exhibits many desirable qualities, including a culture fit, excellent communication skills, and a positive attitude when working with others. Look at soft skills in individuals over just job skills and experience.
Knowing what to look for in an employee will set you up for success when hiring for new roles. By identifying the key best worker qualities of exceptional employees during the hiring process, you can cultivate a motivated workforce that drives sustained progress and achievement. Keep in mind the qualities of a good worker when making your hiring decisions.