The 7 Candidate Types You Need in 2016

Hindsight is 20/20, and managers aren’t immune. Managers regret a new hire 50% of the time costing their organization great deals of time and money. If you’re looking for a way to avoid hiring mishaps, it might be useful to stop looking solely at qualifications and start looking for predominant personality traits. Which characteristics should you look for? Below are the 7 traits we think correlate most with quality employees. 


Level of intelligence is shown in studies to determine 76% of an employee's productivity and contribution to their company.  The key to evaluating intelligence is asking purposeful, intelligent questions. One of the most noticeable hallmarks of intelligence is curiosity; the more questions your potential hires asks about various aspects of the company, the more likely they’ll be an intelligent, curious and resourceful employee. While intelligence is important, keep EQ in mind when looking for new employees as well!


Top performers tend to be more driven. A study by ARCH Profile earlier this year indicated that the level of an employee’s ambition has a significant impact on their performance. For example: 89% of ambitious employees set high work standards for themselves and 88% of employees consistently look for ways to improve their performance or complete tasks more efficiently. These are exactly the kinds of things you should look for in a candidate. Remember to ask questions about work they’re proud of and what they want to accomplish with your organization. Often Recruiters or Hiring Managers find themselves threatened by obviously ambitious candidates. Instead, envision how that ambition can accelerate your succession and workforce planning! 


SHRM found that 47% of employees feel independence contributes greatly to job satisfaction. In fact, some of the best places to work in the U.S. have created cultures allowing employees to have the freedom to think, create and work on their own. The less you micromanage the team, the better. Ask candidates about a time they were left responsible for a project and came through to help find the hire you’re looking for. Have your managers implement clear concise directions for every new campaign and create a focus on central, transparent communication channels like Slack, Yammer and more to facilitate autonomy.


Nearly 23% of job openings specifically asked for leadership skills and although that can be an overused buzzword, it’s nonetheless necessary in qualified candidates. Looking for leadership requires interviewers to get into the gritty details about a candidate ability to lead teams and how they managed high-pressure situations. You can also scan the resume for frequent promotions and indications the candidate was placed in leadership roles relatively early. But don’t stop there, make your workplace a place where leaders can (and do!) emerge.

Cultural Fit

Choosing an employee with a personality that fits the company culture can be somewhat difficult, but it has become a necessary feature in candidate assessments. Employees who fit into the company culture are less likely to quit, ultimately resulting in a higher retention rate. Everything from the job posting to the interview should be inundated with aspects of the company culture so you and candidates are able to determine their fit. 


Happy employees can increase productivity by 12%, since they’re more likely to have the motivation to produce better work. When you’re happy with your job and the work you do, you tend to put a little more effort into both. Looking for happiness can be difficult (a seemingly disgruntled candidate could be having a bad day and a cheery one could be pretending for the interview), but when you assess for fit, ambition and a few other traits on this list, happiness should follow. Remember that happiness is not the only indicator for positivity but it’s certainly the easiest one to identify during the interview process! 


According to Gallup, 63% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. Self-motivation is a valuable skill: it means an employee will seek out work and go the extra mile more often, leading to a more positive and productive workplace. To determine if your potential candidate is self-motivated or not, ask them about how they work between big projects, how they feel about taking on other people’s work, and what kinds of hobbies they have.

This list should give a great idea of what to look for in candidates when trying to find someone who’s a better fit, is more productive, and can deliver results. Every industry will still need to evaluate for their respective hard skills, but evaluating for these traits should give you a firm template to use no matter what job you’re hiring for and avoid those poor hiring decisions. 

Improve hiring decisions by implementing a recruitment system that enables recruiters and hiring managers to rank applicants making it easier than ever to identify qualified applicants. 

Bio: Sean Pomeroy

While selling other companies software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter, applicant tracking system and Cyber Train, learning management system. Want to see what Visibility Software has to offer? Take a demo now.

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Tweet me at @VisSoft

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