What makes a great candidate? Is it technical skills, emotional intelligence, a learning mindset or all of the above? This article highlights four qualities that separate the best from the rest.

Staring at a list of open positions that’s as long as a CVS receipt? You’re not alone. 

Although the labor market might finally be rebalancing, there’s still a surplus of more than 5.5 million jobs in the US. However, you should resist the temptation to employ the first qualified person who comes through the door. Hiring a new employee with benefits costs up to 40 percent of the base salary. So, making a mistake means you’ve thrown that money away. 

The good news is that you can still hire people quickly and be confident they’re the best person for the job. The key is knowing what to look for in a candidate. Here are the most important criteria:

1. they’re genuinely interested in the job

One of the major hiring trends in 2022 is increased pressure for employers to sell themselves or risk getting ghosted by job candidates. So, you’re ahead of the game if you’ve found a job seeker who is already excited about your company and the position. A highly engaged prospect will know the company's mission statement and values. Ideally, they've explored the company’s history, read about recent developments and tried to learn more about the person interviewing them. 

You can also help attract engaged candidates with a well-written job post that clearly communicates the role and hiring process. Remember that recruiting in this competitive job market will require paying attention to the new expectations of employees such as better compensation and work flexibility. 

2. they have emotional intelligence

Research shows that hiring workers with strong emotional intelligence (EI) has many benefits for organizations. Also called emotional quotient (EQ), these skills affect how people manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make decisions. Research has shown that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence. Strong EI is also connected with people who are satisfied with their jobs and have lower work-related stress. It’s no wonder that the demand for social and emotional skills will rise by 26 percent across all US industries by 2030. 

Assess a candidate's EI during the hiring process by asking strategic interview questions that will reveal their level of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

3. they’re curious and open to continuous learning

You’ve probably heard a lot about upskilling and reskilling employees in recent years and with good reason. The skills or job experience you’re hiring for today may soon become irrelevant. Digital transformation is quickly reshaping the workforce. According to McKinsey research, ​​US workers will spend 50 percent more time using advanced tech skills through 2030. Half of all workers globally will need reskilling by 2025

As such, your best bet is to employ people who already demonstrate that they’re naturally curious and enjoy learning. Look for skills they’ve acquired beyond their formal education. Ask about their personal interests. Notice the questions that a candidate has about the job and the company during the hiring process. You can use these observations to determine a candidate’s aptitude for continuous learning. 

4. they’ll add positive qualities to the team

There’s plenty of hard evidence to show that diverse teams perform substantially better than homogeneous ones. So, assessing a candidate’s cultural fit shouldn’t mean looking for someone who is exactly like everyone else in the company. But, you should identify people who will thrive in the organization and add a positive dynamic. You can do this by having members of the prospective candidate’s team weigh in on the ideal qualities for a new coworker. Another idea is to identify common characteristics of employees who have already been successful in the role. Those insights will help you understand the basic requirements for a good candidate.

After you’ve hired the perfect match for the job, you’ll want to keep them engaged and loyal to the company. Find out how Randstad can help you retain your talent.