Companies are always looking for ways to attract, engage and retain top talent but it’s not always obvious who these people are. The investment in interviewing, training and development is huge and companies lose millions of dollars every year when they hire someone who turns out to be “a know it all”, a non-contributor or even worse, someone who’s dishonest and doesn’t follow through with his/her commitments.
Management needs to look beyond resumes that read like marketing brochures filled with stellar credentials and see if a person truly possesses traits that predict success in the workplace. Armed with this knowledge, an astute interviewer will be discreet with what s/he shares in the interview, highlighting only those things that matter most to hiring managers.
Warren Buffet ranks three personality traits the highest; integrity, intelligence and energy. He says that the last two are worthless if you don’t have the first one.
A person who has integrity is trustworthy, honest and does what he says he’ll do. Interviewers can spot someone who has these qualities by asking him or her to tell a story about a time that followed through with a difficult task despite having many other pressures because there was a deadline. You could also discern if a person is honest by how they judge others who do petty acts of stealing like taking pens or paper home from work. Does this person admire famous people who are celebs more than righteous people? Do they have strong intimate ties to groups or associations where they are trusted with money or have a lot of responsibilities?
Look for accomplishments tied to areas of expertise. Here’s where credentials matter. This can help prove this person has mastery of a topic which shows intelligence. See that that the person has finished a rigorous program in an area that’s relevant to your specific needs and has competed against others in a demanding academic environment. The person should be an expert on a topic and be capable of relating what s/he does and has learned in a succinct, clear way. Be able to demonstrate your skills and abilities that could benefit your perspective employer. Both hard skills like strategic, financial acumen that show you’re an adept problem solver.
It’s the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
~ Maya Angelou
If you want to understand energy, charisma or enthusiasm, look to good spiritual leaders, esteemed motivational speakers, and children. Enthusiastic people are typically more open, alive, and confident than others. You may feel more inspired or energized in their presence. They’re curious and interested in life and ask a lot of questions and explore what interests them. They love learning and exhibit delight and challenge and new experiences. Energetic people tend to attract people to them and to their causes. Their positivity makes them attractive and likable.
If all of your colleagues are brilliant then how can you make yourself stand out? Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, says you can train yourself to have higher EQ by being mindful of you mindfulness, or with coaching. He defines EQ as someone who is confident-knows his strengths and weakness. They are able to self-regulate their emotions, show empathy and manage relationships well. People with high E.Q. tend to be more collaborative, adaptable, humble, calm under stress, resilient, and are open to learning and improvement. They’re more likely to be effective in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams.
Display emotional intelligence skills: such as those who:
- are passionate about their work.
- offer a variety of experiences and perspectives.
- interact well with others.
- listens to what is being said and then responds.
- are interested in continuing to develop their own social emotional intelligence skills as well as those of others.
- demonstrate non-verbal cues that match what is being said.
- model the core values of your culture.
- have the ability to focus on everyone in the interview process, not only the leader.
- talk about others in a positive light.
- have the ability to work independently as well as with others.
- have the ability to be in control under stressful situations.
Consider what it takes to become top talent
“Top talent” tends to embrace change and enjoys the challenge of working in a dynamic environment where everything isn’t predictable. They tend to be more innovative and flexible in their approach to solving problems and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Management across industries has a difficult task discerning whether a candidate has these traits. Why not make management’s job easy by finding examples of how you possess these traits. If these qualities are expected from the leaders of the company, it’s logical they would also be favorable for the firm’s employees. Once you know what hiring managers’ are looking for in perspective new hires, you can tailor your responses in an interview accordingly. Your answers should focus on sharing experiences and accomplishments that best demonstrate how you possess those particular attributes.
Look for What Google Looks For in Hiring
Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless… We found that they don’t predict anything.”
Google’s hiring managers focus on character traits that they feel are predictors for successful employees. They pay for what you can do with what you know and they don’t care HOW YOU LEARNED IT. This means you could have graduated from a less prestigious school as long as you have a track record for being collaborative, adaptable and solving complex problems.
While being an expert matters in certain fields like programming and engineering, More companies today focus equal if not more emphasis in hiring people who possess certain soft skills including leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. Employees who possess these traits tend to be more trainable and are often the ones who strive harder to make a difference and learn from mistakes.
Companies are ALWAYS ready to hire and retain top talent. Though the hard skills may vary from one firm to the next, the soft skills, which define traits for top talent, are universal.
The primary goal for all new hires should be to learn everything necessary to excel at your new job and to exceed your supervisors’ expectations. In order to do this well, you need to understand what’s expected of you AND your boss. Becoming top talent requires more than using your expertise to do an adequate job at work. It necessitates using your talents, creativity and expertise to advance the success of your team and of your company.
In today’s hyper competitive job market, the best way to stand out is to show your integrity, energy, intelligence and emotional maturity and your genuine desire to use these traits to become a top performer. Working on developing these traits will improve your candidacy and help you become a valuable asset to your team once your hired.