4 Personality Traits to Look For When Hiring


A few months ago, we discussed what an employer needs to do in order to properly hire their first employee. Before you hire, most small business owners conduct a series of thorough phone and in-person interviews with interested candidates. Hiring is about more than bringing on a team member with the skills and experience necessary to do the role. It’s also about looking for fit and for certain personality traits that show you have what it takes to go the distance.

What kinds of traits am I talking about? No matter what department you’re hiring for, here’s a look at a few characteristics that employers seek out as well as a few you might not have thought to look for in a potential candidate.


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, often referred to as “the other kind of smart,” is the idea that those possessing a set of four core skills — including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management — ultimately become the top performers for a company over individuals with high IQs.

Hiring for emotional intelligence can be tough to uncover because it’s not a tangible element. The best bet for discovering “EQ” in potential hires is to ask questions where there’s the ability to better find elements of emotional intelligence, such as previous moments or situations where empathy and interpersonal relationships played a pivotal role.



We often think of grit as having a “grimy” definition, getting down and dirty to get the job done. That’s fairly… Accurate, actually. Grit is a combination of persistence, passion, and resilience, and you should see one, if not more or all of these traits, reflected in your ideal hire.

If you’re persistent, you will be able to keep going no matter what and stay on task until the job is done. Passion ties in with achieving goals you have right now as well as those in the future. Resilience allows you to fall off the horse and get back on for another ride. By seeking out the gritty candidates, you are finding more than team players. You’re getting people on your team that refuse to coast and would rather keep challenging themselves to learn and do more new things each and every day.


“Being Interesting”

According to 76 percent of hiring managers surveyed by Scribd in 2017, “being interesting” is the greatest quality they seek out when hiring new team members. If you are interesting, you likely do more than your job each day or have had past unique experiences.

More often than not, you can uncover more about how “interesting” a particular job candidate is through their resume. This may provide a link to a portfolio or website, where you can find examples of work they have done in the past or a blog where they kept a daily record of travel adventures. Incorporate your findings into your interview with the candidate. This allows you to better tailor their interview experience and gives the candidate a chance to share more about their background, story, and what brought them to where they are today.


Good Listeners

As you speak to a potential new hire, watch how they react. Do they keep eye contact with you? Do they nod along and smile? Are they taking notes? These are all signs of a good listener which is a basic, but necessary, trait to seek out when hiring employees. After all, you don’t want to invest in a hire that talks over you or frequently interrupts. Listening is just as valuable a communication trait as being an eloquent speaker or strong writer, so keep your ear low to the ground to make sure you find the right talent with this characteristic.




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