3 Essential Characteristics to Look for in Job Applicants

Technology has transformed talent acquisition like never before. Social media and other online hiring platforms have made it easier to examine a candidate’s technical expertise and work experience. But when it comes to securing strong, reliable hires, finding someone with the right technical skills is only half the battle. Candidates must also embody soft skills that blend well with your company culture and help deliver high-impact results.

Here are the traits that differentiate average applicants from top-notch candidates. Considering these important qualities improves your chances of hiring the best people for your organization.


Detail-oriented people give their all when working on a project. They focus closely on each task and submit valuable work consistently. They easily notice mistakes and swiftly discover ways to solve them. You want employees who limit distractions and ensure they remain productive throughout the day. Detail-oriented employees are highly organized, constantly making lists and schedules to ensure all deadlines are met.

Being detail-oriented means sending resumes free of errors and typos, submitting requirements before the deadline, and showing up to interviews on time. Detail-oriented individuals produce consistent, high-quality results every single time.

Good Communicator

Effective communication does not require flawless diction or an extensive vocabulary. Sometimes, it simply means conveying your message clearly, in as few words as possible.

Assess your applicant’s communication skills in person, via email, and on the phone. Their emails should display cohesion, proper spelling, and grammar. Apart from articulating their thoughts well, good communicators exhibit confident body language and follow directions carefully. Bonus points if they smile, ask questions, and welcome feedback when conversing in person.

During your face-to-face interview, ask open-ended questions to evaluate a candidate’s ability to think on the spot. Use ice-breaker questions like “Tell me about your previous job” or “What makes you stand out from the other candidates?” Pay close attention to body posture, arm gestures, and eye contact. These nonverbal cues often express what a person is feeling. A relaxed stance and a friendly tone show confidence, openness, and an engaging personality.


Adaptability is characteristic of top employees. Continual education and an unwavering ability to adapt is essential to surviving in today’s fast-paced world. With new technologies and ideas emerging every day, learning is what will keep you ahead of your competition.

Adaptable employees are not afraid of change. They will fearlessly take on new challenges or pick up new skills if needed. Assess whether the candidates you are interviewing are open to new ways of working and how they respond to uncertainty. Ask situational questions that require them to take risks and step out of their comfort zone. Regardless of their technical expertise, a candidate who is unwilling to grow as an employee and as a person fails to be an asset to any company.

A well-developed personality exam for employment lets you assess the personal attributes mentioned above and more. No matter the role you’re hiring for, technical skills alone are not enough to land truly effective employees. Positive interpersonal and communication skills are what make strong, inspiring leaders essential to a company’s long-term success.

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