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Essential Qualities To Look For in a Job Candidate

Essential Qualities To Look For in a Job Candidate


Hiring an employee can be a stressful and frustrating experience for many employers because they’re not even sure what to look for. If you must hire someone, look for these essential qualities in each job candidate.

Work Ethic

Every employer wants a worker with a solid work ethic, but that’s a difficult trait to observe and determine strictly from a résumé or an interview. Many employers find candidates with strong work ethics using prehire assessments like the workplace productivity profile, criteria personality inventory, and the employee personality profile.

While these profiles shouldn’t be the only thing that determines whether or not a candidate has a strong work ethic, they can provide valuable insight into the perseverance a candidate shows compared to others. Many employers also develop their prehire assessment to administer to candidates more specific to the position—like a trial run of the work the candidate could expect if hired.


When hiring a candidate, you’re bringing someone on to join the team. Naturally, you want a team player who knows how to work in a unit aimed at a common goal. Comfort working in a group is an essential quality to look for in a job candidate. One person can make the difference between a team reaching its full potential and being dragged down.

This teamwork quality is why it’s good to see candidates with other things on their résumé besides work experience—participation in clubs and organizations, playing team sports, and more. Getting effective team players is also an advantage to hiring and retaining military veterans, as they know better than anyone what it’s like to work within a unit.


Part of working within a team is communicating effectively, so as an employer, you always want to look for comfortable individuals who know how to communicate with others. Communication isn’t just a personality trait but a skill—like all the rest a candidate will put on their résumé.

Observe how the candidate communicates verbally and physically during the interview—do they seem clear, concise, and confident in their communication skills? Assess their written communication skills throughout your correspondence as well.


As much as you may want workers who are capable and loyal, you don’t just want mindless drones incapable of doing anything without orders from above. You want a candidate that is self-reliant and capable of solving problems on their own instead of just creating more issues.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills should always be at the top of the list of traits employers seek, whether the job is in accounting, customer service, or industrial work. Ask candidates to provide examples of instances when they had to recognize an issue and develop an effective solution to show their problem-solving prowess.

Those are just a few important traits to search for in candidates. There are many more, but if you find a candidate exhibiting all of these traits, you’ve likely got a great hire.

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