The 8 Most Attractive Qualities in Prospective Employees

Posted by Svetlana Saitsky on February 10 2014

svetlana-saitsky By Svetlana Saitsky

Certain people simply have that “it” factor. I am talking about those individuals who walk into a room with a kind of charm that instantly grabs your attention, who communicate in a way that allows you to instantly relate and connect with them, and yet they have just enough of a hint of mystery, leaving you curious and wanting more. They carry themselves with an air of confidence, and yet they are extremely inviting. Wickedly intelligent and sharp, they have an insatiable curiosity that inspires them to try new things, make mistakes and fail until they succeed. Best of all, they are not afraid of failure and are true innovators, learning from their mistakes and getting better each day because they are not afraid to try.

These are the kind of people that are a rare commodity in the workplace, and the ones you want to recruit because they are the action seekers and game changers who inspire change. As a former recruiter, and a current employee, these are the kind of people I’ve loved to hire and currently, they are the kind of people I love to work with.

Sitting at lunch today, I overheard a conversation at a table nearby and I could not help but think about how the most inspiring conversations take place over a meal. “Give me someone that cares, someone who takes pride in their work, someone that really cares. I can teach them the rest.” Hearing these words, I became intrigued and decided I had to join in on the conversation. Introducing myself to Joe Wendel and Zachery Walter, who both work on Google’s HR team, I told them that I could not agree more with what they were saying.

Later that day, Joe, (an HR Lead focusing on recruiting Product Managers) and I continued our conversation and something he said really stood out; “Regarding new hires that get a little too comfortable, a little too soon...I'd rather have someone who is a little too familiar but is really passionate about their work, than someone who's trying to put their best foot forward yet isn't as passionate, and is just going through the motions of the job.” I could not agree more with Joe. Passion is key, and the following is a list of traits that after years of working in, studying and recruiting for corporate America, I have found to make the absolute best employees:

1. They are not afraid to fail. It does not matter how many times you fail once you finally succeed, and this attitude will get you far both inside and beyond the cubicle and office walls. As Bill Gates said, “It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

2. They are direct. Time is money, and in today’s marketplace, companies do not have time to waste. Being direct in your communication style saves everyone time and energy. Those individuals who can get to the point quickly, concisely and eloquently are not only more productive, but also more highly valued contributors.

3. They are passionate about constant evolution and change. The only thing constant is change, and the best employee are those who know how to go with the flow, mold to their environment and do so with a great attitude. I once heard someone say that when you fight with reality you always lose, and I loved that concept and believe those who share this perspective are not just more successful at work, but in life.

4. They are disciplined and hardworking. You can have all the passion in the world, but if you don’t actually find the disciple to sit down and finish what you start, all you'll ever have is an idea. Finding individuals who have developed their ability to focus, commit and be impeccable with their word is key to building a successful team.

5. They are inventive. Whether you are developing a wild new technology or working to improve a timeless product or service, it’s important to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. Individuals who are able to bring something new to the table are not only a huge commodity in the workplace, but a lot of fun to be around.

6. They are generally joyful and grateful. We spend more time at work than we do at home, and it has been proven that the people we spend most of our time around are the people we turn into, so surrounding yourself with joyful individuals who are grateful to be at work will not only lead to greater productivity for your team, but to greater overall joy in your life.

7. They are team players. True leaders lead with or without a title and want to empower and help others, because they realize that this ultimately helps themselves. I recently ead an article in Venture Beat about Steve Jobs and about whether or not Apple would have hired him today. Apple is a company that values individuals who care more about getting the job done, than about getting recognition for it. Every company would be lucky and happy to have people with this attitude come on board.

8. They are curious. There isn’t anything more inspiring than an individual who is constantly curious about the world and their role in it. As a recruiter, I would always be curious to learn about what it was that my candidates were interested in exploring in and outside the office. This would give me great insight into how much they could contribute to the workplace.

The best way to gauge whether or not a candidate has these eight qualities is to ask questions like, “tell me some things about yourself that have nothing to do with work.” Joe shared this question with me, and I think it’s a great one. Remember, you will be spending half your waking hours with those you hire, so make sure that they are the kind of individuals that truly contribute and inspire your work, and your life.

Svetlana Saitsky strives to inspire through her work as a photographer and writer. She resides in San Francisco, CA and is a guest blogger for Great Place to Work® while working on her first book on Inspiration.