Hiring for Potential: 3 Personality Traits to Look For

As the unemployment rate continues to drop to record lows, your organization may find it difficult to identify candidates who align with your talent needs. Identifying key personality traits of effective employees can help hiring managers make informed decisions.

Why soft skills are important

When hiring for any position, it's necessary to look beyond each candidate's technical skills. Just because an individual can perform the work required of the position doesn't mean they will be a perfect match for the company. Factors such as personality, cultural fit and soft skills can make a significant difference. For instance, employees who are unable to communicate effectively may slow down processes or inadvertently introduce new business challenges.

Soft skills, such as empathy, leadership and creative problem solving, are important because they facilitate the utilization of technical skills. For instance, if a programmer is unable to effectively communicate the best use case for his current project, it may take extra time to realize the benefits of the solution. A recent study from Boston College, the University of Michigan and Harvard University corroborated this sentiment, finding that soft skills training boosts employee productivity and retention by 12 percent.

Identifying beneficial personality traits

Finding candidates who possess favorable soft skills and personality traits is more difficult than assessing technical skills because they are intangible. However, it's not impossible. Interviewers should pose open-ended questions that allow candidates to discuss their previous experience as well as how they would utilize that knowledge to solve future challenges.

To discover three key personality traits of candidates with high potential for growth, check out our infographic below.