Skip to Main Content

Hiring for Attributes


Honing your hiring criteria means knowing which key attributes you are looking for in a job candidate and potential employee. Over many years of being involved in the search and hiring process, I’ve identified six key attributes that I look for in all candidates whether they are people with whom I will be working or placing on a team for client.


This is probably the most singular quality for long-term success in work and in one’s life in general; morally principled; honest.


An intrinsic instinct for asking the right questions and listening objectively. Exhibiting a breadth and depth of knowledge about your chosen profession, but also about the world and your place in it.


Requires vision and knowing how to convey that vision to others. An ability to inspire, cultivate inclusiveness and demonstrate resilience and perseverance. Live by that the old adage “the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”


A vital personal attribute for effective interaction with teams.  Demonstrates a willingness to learn, listen and be receptive to new ideas and contradicting points of view.

Team player

Able to work with a range of personality types, listen to, motivate and build rapport with others. Understands and adheres to the six components of collaboration:  communication, coordination, balanced contributions among team members, mutual support, effort, and cohesion.  Recognizes that every member of the team offers unique knowledge, ideas and talents.

Critical Thinking

Disciplined thinking based on rational, evidence-based evaluation and decision-making.  Critical thinkers are systematic problem solvers who observe, interpret, analyze, evaluate, as well as recognize errors or biases in one’s own thinking.

Of course, there are many other attributes that might be considered so it is incumbent upon hiring managers to identify and define those that are most important to them.  The above, however, will continue to top my list as they have served me well in judging a qualified candidate.

The next step in the process (and the subject of a future blog) is how to ascertain in the span of an interview whether your candidate possesses the qualities you seek. Proficient interviewing is a learned skill derived from experience and a willingness to learn, listen and study, and a dash of luck.

No comments for this post

Leave a comment

HTML tags are not allowed.