Interviewing: 8 Qualities Managers Want In Candidates (and how to find them!)

By Adam Robinson,
September 20, 2012

All hiring managers, on command, can rattle off a list of qualities they are looking for in
potential employees. Wanting a candidate with certain skills and qualities is not surprising. What does shock us, is that most hiring managers have no idea how to determine if their candidates possesses these traits and how they would go about finding them. 

Last week, OI Partners released a study which surveyed for the 8 qualities that employers desired in workers. All of the desired qualities were what you would expect but what we didn’t expect was “behavioral interviewing,” to get the credit of finding these qualities in candidates. Here’s the list:

  1. Being a team player (selected by 71 percent of surveyed companies);

  2. Satisfy customers/clients (chosen by 68 percent);

  3. Motivate and engage others (65 percent);

  4. Achieve their most important objectives (62 percent);

  5. Work smart (60 percent);

  6. Work hard (57 percent);

  7. Add value (52 percent); and,

  8. Contribute to improving the bottom line (48 percent).

Patty Prosser, the Chair of OI Partners, said, “The surest way to build these qualities is to establish a culture that supports them and provide the resources to grow and develop them. Demonstrate that these qualities are valued. Include them in performance reviews and consideration for raises and promotions – and recognize and reward employees who exemplify them.” 

John Hollon the VP of Editorial for TLNT wrote about the survey in his article titled: Weekly Wrap: The Top 8 Qualities Employers Want in Their Workers. Hollon agrees with Prosser but states that in this economy, building a culture where these qualities are supported is “something that we’ll spend more time discussing than actually seeing in action.”

Culture might be something manager’s don’t have the time and money to spend on but what if I told you there is an easier way to identify which candidates posses these qualities and which don’t? In Prosser’s next paragraph she states: ‘Offer managers behavioral interview training so they will have the skills to select people with the right characteristics that fit the organization and are essential to its success.” And that is exactly how you should start hiring the employees with the qualities you want.

Assuming you are familiar with behavioral interviewing, you already know that a candidate’s past behavior will predict their future behavior. In other words, if you want a candidate who “motivates and engages others,” simply ask them to recount a time where they motivated or engaged someone and watch the magic happen. If the candidate has good examples and experience you can move on to the next quality. It’s as simple as that!

Instead of trying to analyze their answers to questions you can have the candidate do the work and tell you exactly how they have that quality, what experience led to developing that trait, and how they use it on the job. Now don’t you wish you had thought of this before?

Have you found success in behavioral interviewing? Tell us in the comments below!

Once you find those all-star candidates, learn how to retain them!


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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