November 23, 2020

14 Traits That Could Get You Hired on the Spot

candidate gets hired

Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we ask experts and entrepreneurs to share their insights on pressing topics in HR and recruiting!

Today’s Question: What’s one trait or skill that would make you hire someone on the spot, and why?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.


saloni1. Self-Motivation

An essential trait we look for is self-motivation. Having the inner drive to take action in the face of adversity or uncertainty means a person will be able to add value quickly and will constantly find ways to do more to improve the business. This trait is essential in any role, from our warehouse workers to our top salespeople. It is unfortunately incredibly difficult to interview for!

Saloni Doshi, Eco Enclose, LLC

blair2. Independent Thinking

Being an independent thinker is an incredibly admirable quality to have. Many people try to go along to get along, agreeing with whatever the boss says, without question. Great leaders need team members who challenge the status quo if doing so is better for the company as a whole. Independent thinkers are also incredibly innovative, productive, efficient, and have a way of unifying a team.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

tyler3. A Desire to Learn and Grow

I place strong importance on the desire to learn and grow in new roles. That tells me there’s potential for a strong, long-term relationship with a potential hire. Working relationships of that nature tend to be extremely profitable for both parties involved.

Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

Reuben4. Varied Experience

Someone who has a wide variety of experiences and is ready to sell themselves with real-life examples of how they put their knowledge and skills into action is someone I would hire on the spot.

Reuben Yonatan, SaasList

Kelsey5. Curiosity

Curiosity is essential. In our industry of content marketing, things change quickly, and we work with clients in dozens of different industries. If someone is not interested in learning, they will quickly come to not enjoy their role. If they love the process of learning new things and are genuinely curious, they’ll enjoy what they do.

Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

matthew6. A Sense of Character

You can train someone on skills. Instead, focus on who they are as a person and, ultimately, where their morals lie. I have found someone can be hardworking, dedicated, and committed to success, but if their moral compass is off, they won’t align with your greater mission.

Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

josh7. Out-of-the-Box Thinking

I would definitely look for someone who is creative enough to be able to think outside the box. When I have such members on my team, I can be sure that they will apply their skills to different situations and solve unexpected problems with ease and confidence.

Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

Riccardo8. Confidence and Assertiveness

I appreciate when someone is assertive and expresses their capacity to fulfill all work objectives. This makes me trust that they will meet or even exceed my expectations.

Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow

Alfredo9. Discipline

With discipline, you can accomplish any objective, and you can evolve into the human being and professional you aim to be.

Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

sam10. Passion

Any employer would love for their employees to be smart, hardworking, gritty, loyal, and always improving. Nothing encompasses all these character traits like passion. It makes up for other deficiencies that could otherwise prevent a person from achieving certain goals.

Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

stephanie11. Communication Skills

We rarely hire people on the spot because we want to ensure we give all our candidates a fair chance. That said, what speeds up the hiring process is when the candidate has excellent communication skills. It’s crucial to communicate properly in the workplace, and you’d be surprised how many people struggle with this skill.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

thomas12. Reliability

I would hire anyone upon whom I think I can rely. That’s because reliable employees understand their responsibilities and are always ready to give their all to any project that comes their way. They don’t need someone to constantly remind them of their duties, and they are always committed to their work.

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

jared13. Leadership and Initiative

Those who take initiative and find solutions to make processes easier are people I want working for my business. They’ll help take it to the next level by expediting the work and making complicated processes easy.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

john14. Strong References

When I see a resume packed with references, I instinctively want to hire the applicant. I’ve found some people fill in this section of their application with names, vague titles, and maybe contact information. These people appear dishonest, even if it’s unintentional. A detailed reference sheet gives us the confidence we need to quickly get the applicant through the hiring process.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC


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