Q. When you are interviewing for a job, what top five characteristics do you normally look for besides academic qualifications? Why do these characteristics matter in the work place?
Organisations differ in terms of their talent tastes and needs. Similarly, different jobs may require different candidate characteristics.
It is therefore presumptuous, in view of context-driven idiosyncrasies, to build a list of characteristics that apply in all recruitment circumstances.
This notwithstanding, apart from academic qualifications, some traits would recur in lists of candidate characteristics that would enable an organisation to meet its objectives.
Besides the need for a candidate to have ran their academic gauntlet, employers look for competence.
Can you deliver expected results? Can you apply your mind to the challenges that arise at work? Can you think critically? Can you challenge inertia and status quo? Can you solve problems? Can you think creatively? Can you work within the constraints of diversity, time and resources?
Qualifications alone do not inevitably confer the ability to be effective in a role. Another element is character.
How do you conduct yourself, your interactions and responsibilities? Do you respect yourself and others? Can you demonstrate diligence? Do you possess temperance? How is your work ethic?
Is integrity a component of your personal brand and reputation? Can you forge meaningful relationships with stakeholders? Can you be trusted with responsibility?
Confidence is another characteristic. Do you come across as sure-footed? Do you inspire confidence in others? Are others inclined to buy your ideas or story?
Are you comfortable in your skin? Displaying signs of being unsure of your capabilities will usually undermine chances of success, while signs of self-importance and arrogance are often repulsive to employers.
How about communication? The ability to communicate effectively is an important characteristic. It is the means through which you transmit your thoughts to others in the course of work, whether in written or verbal form. One’s ability to influence others in part hinges on this aspect.
Supposing you owned an organisation from which you expected great results, how would you require your employees to work and behave?
The characteristics that come to your mind will most likely cut the mustard, add them to the list.
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