When hiring new people, business leaders must often look beyond the resume and listed qualifications to properly assess the applicant and whether they are a good fit for the company. A bad hire can have devastating consequences on your company culture, along with low team morale, reduced productivity and even financial loss.
These seven entrepreneurs share a few top indications of quality candidates that any hiring manager should look for and why these signs matter when recruiting new talent.
Confidence in the Field
One of the top indications of a high-quality candidate is the confidence they exude in their field, according to Colbey Pfund, Co-Founder of LFNT Distribution.
"In an interview, I want to see the candidate be extremely confident about what we are doing," Pfund explains. I want to bring in people whom I know can help take us to the next level and in order to do that they have to be confident and knowledgable. There is no time to bring anyone on that is always going to second guess their instincts or ideas."
Lack of Ego
"Confident, opinionated and bold personalities are all great. But if it rises to a point where personal ego gets in the way of doing what's best for the team, then that is a deal-breaker," adds Rubica Inc. Co-Founder and CEO, Frances Dewing.
According to Dewing, a key trait that makes a candidate a good fit for your organization is the ability to work as part of a team. "I look for people that will jump into the trenches to help teammates when times are tough, who are willing to admit their mistakes, and willing to 'take out the trash,' regardless of their title," she says.
Ability to Solve Problems
Another crucial trait to look for is a candidate's ability to problem-solve, given that any job has an element of variability, according to Drew Gurley, co-founder of Redbird Advisors.
"In every interview, I ask for a detailed description of a problem the candidate solved. The intent is to listen to their process around how they pivot when something doesn't go their way," Gurley explains his hiring strategy. "Are they more likely to ask for help right away, or step back and think about how to get the job done? Problem-solving is critical!"
Along the same lines, a quality candidate should also demonstrate intellectual curiosity, believes Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder of Fem Founder.
"I know it's difficult to gauge whether someone is intellectually curious from one conversation but I like to give prospective candidates hypothetical situations to see how they approach an issue and solve a problem. I also ask a lot of questions, and I find the best candidates ask me or my team many questions as well," Marquet adds.
Ability to Communicate
"When interviewing potential hires, I always make sure to pay attention to how well they communicate," MemberPress creator Blair Williams says, explaining how communication is key when it comes to the cultural fit of a new hire.
"It doesn't matter if their resume looks awesome. If they are unable to effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas, that's an instant red flag," Williams adds. "I also pay close attention to body language and how they physically interact with others."
Insightful Applicant Brand Story
Relevant skills aside, a very important element hiring managers should look for is an applicant's ability to craft a strong personal brand story about their career path, insists Accessory Export, LLC CEO, Will Land.
"From there, I can quickly tell if our synergy is going to align or if we aren't a good fit for each other," Land says. "When they tell their story, I specifically look for passion, enthusiasm and work ethics, and ask similar questions as those asked to me by our clients."
Enthusiasm for the Position
Equally important when determining cultural fit of a candidate is genuine enthusiasm, thinks Leila Lewis, founder and CEO of Be Inspired PR.
Lewis explains that while most applicants she interviews are enthusiastic, few show a real, genuine interest in her company: "Those candidates come prepared with thoughtful questions, have knowledge about our past work, and are able to convincingly articulate why their strengths would be a great fit for my team."