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4 Traits to Look for When Hiring High-Performing Employees

4 Traits to Look for When Hiring High-Performing Employees

Over decades of behavioral and performance research, experts have identified qualities that all high-performing employees possess. Most recruiters and hiring professionals have used these traits as a standard for assessing soft skills.

Each of these characteristics can be introduced and developed in current employees through mentorships and training seminars. And while that’s great for improving long-term retention and performance, hiring employees who already possess these qualities should be a goal for your talent acquisition team.

Even better, the earlier in your hiring process you can spot these four traits, the sooner you can advance top talent and integrate these skills into your workforce. Here’s a breakdown of the top 4 traits to assess for in one-way video interviews and how to reveal them with effective questions:

1. Critical thinking

Perhaps most important, many employees and job candidates are lacking in critical thinking. Do they know how to write business proposals? Yes. Can they give a presentation? Of course. However, when it comes to thinking on their feet, it’s oftentimes a skill that must be crafted.

You can see if a job candidate is already well-versed in this skill by asking these questions during an interview:

  • Can you tell me about a problem that came up at your last job that required an immediate decision on your part?
  • Have you ever had to make a decision without all of the available facts? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?

2. Communication

This is pretty easy to decipher during the interview process. You’ll be able to tell if a candidate is a good communicator through their conversation with you. Do they answer your questions? Do their answers flow fluidly?

In addition to gauging their communication skills, you can ask about them as well:

  • Rate your communication skills on a scale from 1 to 10 and provide three examples that prove your rating.
  • Has there ever been a time in your past work experiences where you’ve felt your managers or coworkers haven’t communicated with you effectively? How did you handle this?

3. Collaboration

In most cases, a job candidate’s ability to truthfully work well with others will be gleaned through their references. However, that doesn’t mean it should be off-limits in the job interview. Asking in the interview will also give you a chance to compare their answers with that of their references.

Here is what you can ask in the interview to identify high-performing employees:

  • Do you work better alone or on a team? And why?
  • Give an instance in which a team member didn’t do his or her part. How did you handle that?

4. Creativity

From the resume to the job interview, you’ll be able to gauge creativity quickly in this job market. Candidates these days realize the importance of sticking out from the crowd, whether it’s through a creative resume or out-of-the-box interview answers.

Again, though, there are questions you can ask in the interview to test their creative juices:

  • If you could be a superhero, what would your superpowers be?
  • If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be?

Frankly, you may not be able to assess the depth at which job candidates pose the four traits of high-performing employees, but it’s a start. Gauging their abilities in these areas before you hire them will tell you whether or not you have to start from scratch or develop these skills further. Ideally, you’ll want to opt for the latter for the best results for your small business.

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