As you sift through resumes and schedule interviews in search of your ideal candidate, you’ll obviously be looking for someone who can handle the specific challenges of the job. You’ll need an applicant who holds the technical training and skill proficiencies that this position will require on a daily basis. But these proficiencies alone won’t lead to success.

To truly thrive in this role and contribute to the company in a meaningful way, you candidate will also need to connect with clients, partners, and other members of his team. Nobody works in a solitary cave—not in this company, anyway—and in order to get things done, your candidate will need to interact with other human beings on a regular basis. So as you narrow the pool and make your final decision, keep an eye out for traits like these.


Can your candidate read other people, respond to verbal and social cues, and see the world from some else’s point of view? This quality—empathy—is essential to successful negotiations, team projects, account management, coaching sessions, and client interactions.

Verbal and Written Communication

It won’t matter how many great ideas your candidate generates if he can’t share those ideas and thoughts with the rest of the world. And in a modern, digital business environment where global communications happen in real time, the bare minimum won’t be enough. The ability to fumble through a conversation or send a barely legible email won’t cut the mustard. Your candidate will have to express his thoughts and feelings in an articulate, elevated, professional register, and he’ll have to do so at speed that matches the speed of your industry.

Relationship Building

No matter what corner of the marketplace you occupy, and no matter the make-up of your business model and client demographic, there’s a strong chance that your business is founded on a bedrock of human relationships. In order for your accounts to thrive, your clients need to like, trust, and respect their representative. In order for you internal operations to thrive, your teams need to like, trust, and respect their bosses and each other. Can your candidate find a place for herself in this network of trust and respect? Can she show confidence in others and earn their confidence in return? If not, you’ll need to keep looking.

These personal and social skill sets were once known as “soft” skills, and were considered secondary priorities during the candidate search process, but managers now place them at the top of the list. For more information on how to find and test for these skills—and how to avoid candidates who struggle in these areas—reach out to the staffing and management team at Expert Staffing.


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