Hiring the right candidate for a position is a critical task that managers undertake to ensure the success and growth of their organisations. In this process, managers often seek individuals who possess an ideal combination of desirable traits, including intelligence and trainability. Intelligent individuals with sharp minds and the ability to grasp complex concepts are highly valued for their problem-solving skills and ability to contribute innovative ideas. Moreover, candidates who exhibit a strong willingness to learn, adapt and develop their skills are often seen as valuable assets. But are these the only traits managers require in candidates? Not really.
While these traits are important considerations, these are not the sole deciding factors in hiring. As per the senior HR leaders, the following are some more critical traits a manager takes into account to ensure a well-rounded evaluation of potential hires.
Positive attitude: “In my book, will is more important than skill, provided one has the right attitude,” says Ramesh Shankar S, chief joy officer, Hrishti.com. Every individual may have a different skill set and while the job requirements may demand certain skills, the positive attitude towards that specific role and responsibility plays a significant part. For instance, if candidates have a positive attitude and a strong willingness to learn, the possibilities to help them develop or improve their skills are strong as well.
Where skills are still important, an individual’s will and attitude are far more vital to consider.“In general, managers often prefer candidates with transferable skills and strong soft skills because they can easily adapt, learn and gain experience on the job. Therefore, having a positive attitude towards life and work is crucial,” opines Shankar.
“In my book, will is more important than skill, provided one has the right attitude. In my book, will is more important than skill, provided one has the right attitude.”
Ramesh Shankar S, chief joy officer, Hrishti.com
Domain experience: “Domain experience is of paramount importance when hiring for top roles within an organisation,” points out Nihar Ghosh, senior HR leader. As companies strive for growth and success, they often seek leaders who possess deep knowledge and expertise in their respective industries as it brings several advantages.
“Domain experts bring a comprehensive understanding of the specific industry dynamics, trends and challenges. This allows them to navigate complexities more efficiently and make informed decisions that align with the organisation’s strategic goals,” explains Ghosh. Additionally, their familiarity with industry-specific regulations, best practices and emerging technologies can help drive innovation and ensure the company remains competitive.
Longevity: “Managers always prefer candidates who have demonstrated longevity in their previous roles, as it is an indication of they have more likely gained extensive experience and developed a deep understanding of their field or industry,” opines Kamlesh Dangi, group head, human resources, InCred.
Cultural compatibility: Cultural compatibility is another significant trait managers look for in a potential hire. “As leaders in top positions have a direct influence on shaping the company’s culture, it is essential to find individuals who align with and uphold the values, beliefs and norms that define the organisation’s identity,” opines Ghosh. They set the tone for the organisation and play a crucial role in guiding its direction. When a candidate shares the same cultural values as the company, they are more likely to lead by example and make decisions that are consistent with the organisation’s principles. This fosters a cohesive and unified leadership approach.
“As leaders in top positions have a direct influence on shaping the company’s culture, it is essential to find individuals who align with and uphold the values, beliefs and norms that define the organisation’s identity.”
Nihar Ghosh, senior HR leader
Motivation and enthusiasm: Motivation and enthusiasm are characteristics to consider when hiring candidates. “These traits reflect candidates’ drive, passion and commitment to their work, and they can greatly impact their performance and contributions within an organisation,” asserts Dangi. Such candidates possess a proactive mindset. They take initiative, seek out opportunities and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their goals. They exhibit a strong sense of ownership and responsibility, which translates into a proactive approach to problem solving and a drive to deliver high-quality results.
Personality compatibility: “Organisations prefer to evaluate whether the candidates are going to match the organisational objectives with the right kind of attitude or not,” states Ghosh. Personality traits can greatly impact how effectively a person can collaborate, communicate and inspire others.
For instance, when hiring for a senior position such as that of a CEO, it is crucial to assess factors such as their ability to inspire others, their perspective on challenges as opportunities, their resilience in the face of failure and more. These considerations hold true regardless of whether the candidate is junior or senior. In fact, the more senior the role, the greater the impact on the business.
“Possession of knowledge is just one part of the capabilities required to do a job, but it’s not the sole factor to be sought in a potential hire.”
Kamlesh Dangi, group head, human resources, InCred
Citing the example of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former captain of the Indian cricket team, Shankar adds, “For leadership positions, it is desirable to find individuals who possess qualities similar to Dhoni, who is known for his attitude, openness to ideas, willingness to take a stand and support his team, and perseverance in the face of failures. Dhoni’s success did not solely rely on his natural talent alone. He learned and developed his skills over the years. Furthermore, he did not come from a privileged background with access to specialised training, but his exceptional attitude and leadership abilities propelled him to the top.”
While organisations value knowledge and learning capabilities of an individual at the junior levels, for top roles, they focus more on the cultural and personality compatibility along with domain experience as well. “This also instils confidence and trust among stakeholders as clients, investors, and partners often value leaders who have a track record of success within the industry,” believes Ghosh.
Additionally, Dangi opines, “Not all roles require the same level of intelligence for success. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’”. For instance, a bank caller doesn’t need IIT-level knowledge, but a derivative expert will need the right domain knowledge and experience to do the job right. Therefore, it also depends on different type of jobs.
“Possession of knowledge is just one part of the capabilities required to do a job, but it’s not the sole factor to be sought in a potential hire,” concludes Dangi.
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