Experts and surveys agree, these days companies care more and more about personality when hiring. While a stellar résumé and relevant experience might have won you the gig in the past, candidates today increasingly have to demonstrate the right attitude as well as the right skills.

But what is the right attitude exactly?

You might argue that it varies by industry and role, with a sales position calling for charming extroverts while a quality control position demands someone quiet, diligent, and detail oriented, for example.

Of course there's some truth to this common sense approach to matching gig with personality (though sales excellence, apparently, is mostly closely correlated with being halfway between the introvert and extrovert extremes), but according to a fascinating recent Huffington Post piece by VC Tim Kopp, there are actually a few personality traits that absolutely every employee should display, no matter their role or the company's niche.

1. Exceptional communication skills

No, this doesn't mean every hire has to have the gift of gab. "'Communication skills' can often be misunderstood to simply mean someone who's an extrovert or someone who's good at giving speeches," cautions Kopp. But "while public speaking skills are a great asset to have, the ability to clearly communicate with others (both verbally and in writing) goes much deeper," he says.

The heart of exceptional communication skills is the ability to be proactive (and presumably clear) about sharing needs, updates, and changes, and to keep on top of what others on the team are working on, Kopp says.

2. Problem solving

No matter the seniority of an employee, he or she still needs to be able to solve problems. That ability breaks down into three constituent capabilities for Kopp:

  • Breaking the problem down and analyzing it
  • Determining what information or resources are necessary
  • Asking for help to obtain those resources when needed

"On many levels, all problems (big or small) share common characteristics," he says, so this skill can be learned in a wide variety of different contexts.

3. Heart for leadership

It's not just managers who need to be able to take ownership of issues, use resources well (including understanding their own personal limitations), and display humble confidence, according to Kopp. These sorts of fundamental leadership abilities, which can be developed as an employee gains experience, should be present in every person you hire, he says.

"When I was CMO at ExactTarget," Kopp concludes, "we were extremely intentional about conveying our belief that anyone -- whether in a management position, C-suite role, or summer internship -- had the power to lead in an impactful way."

Check out his complete post for much more detail.

What qualities do you expect absolutely every hire to have?

Published on: Dec 15, 2016
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