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Executive Coaching

What are top qualities in employees?

In 2006, the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed employers about the most important qualities/skills they seek in candidates recruited just out of college. The list of the top 12 qualities is below.

Over the years, this list has not varied very much. Even though many employers continue to view these qualities as important throughout the lifespan of a person’s career, they may take them for granted during the interview process.

• Communication skills (written and verbal)
• Honesty/integrity
• Teamwork skills (works well with others)
• Strong work ethic
• Analytical skills
• Flexibility/adaptability
• Interpersonal skills (relates well with others)
• Motivation/initiative
• Detail-oriented skills
• Organizational skills
• Leadership skills
• Self-confidence

To make the best hire, it is important to determine what you need in an employee and to establish how you will assess the candidate’s skills in these areas during the interview process.

Some employers tell me they look for interview questions on the Internet or get them from other employers. Finding a list of interview questions on the Internet can be a starting point, but those questions may aim to assess qualities that are not high priorities for your business.

You wouldn’t shop for groceries for your own home with your neighbor’s grocery list. Likewise, it’s important for your business to define its own criteria for selection and create a clear assessment procedure. This might include pre-employment testing, interviews, reference checks, behavioral assessments, etc.

Has your business determined what the top requirements are for candidates you hire?
How are you measuring for those qualities in your interview process?

Do you know how valid your selection procedure is in producing good-quality employees?

To get the best candidates, it is important to identify ahead of time what you are looking for in an ideal candidate and determine how you are going to measure that. These decisions should be based on business needs. Without those components, you just might end up hiring someone who is a good fit for someone else’s business.

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