I have a confession to make: I am an easy interview. Why? People easily sway me. Despite my status as a hiring wally, I have hired many people in my career. Most of them have been great. So how did I do this? To quote a fellow Brit, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

What I have done to good effect is to get different people from across the organization to interview the person as well. This method also helps the candidate, as they can speak to a cross-section of people and make sure the job is right for them.

We have a few traits we look for in candidates, traits we all agree are essential to success on our team here at Beyond Philosophy. The following five traits have served the members of my team well:

  1. Emotional Intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence (EQ) can control their emotions and the emotions of others. Research indicates they are also good at getting people to do what they want. I hire candidates with high EQs knowing full well their ability to get people to do what they want includes me. However, I am okay with that because they are also the most likely to develop Employee Engagement, an essential ingredient to delivering on the Beyond Philosophy brand promise.
  2. Positive Attitude. Do they have that positive, Can-do attitude? You can train a lot of things, but an attitude isn’t one of them.
  3. Initiative. Initiative is critical to us when hiring. We like to see how the person uses their initiative to prepare for the interview—or doesn’t. I’ll be honest; too many people turn up for interviews without doing the preparation! The candidates that impress me most are the ones who are proactive, not reactive.
  4. Sound Reasoning. I ask people to come in with a 100-day plan, which, as the name implies, is the plan of what they would do in their first hundred days. I judge the plan by how they present it and the thought behind it. I have people turn up with no thought put behind this plan and wing it. I also have those who spend a great deal of time and present a professional presentation. Guess which candidate I hire?
  5. Independent Working Skills. In this virtual world, you must be able to delegate a task and trust the person to do it. I once had an assistant who used to work well in the office. However, when we converted to working from home, she couldn’t handle it. Whenever I spoke to her, she was always doing the washing or ironing or something else—she was an independent worker, just not on my stuff! If you’re going to run a virtual team based around the globe, you need to trust they will work. I say to my team, “I don’t care where you work in the world as long as you work.” Some people are going to do this some aren’t. The ones I hire, however, are the former not the latter.

Putting someone in a position for which they are not suited results in challenges for everyone from managers to clients to the employee him or herself. My job is to select the candidates with these skills and natural talents and then match them to appropriate job that allows them to thrive here (the rest of the team’s job is to make sure I didn’t get duped in the interview!). If I don’t do this, then they will fail. But also I will have failed them, too.

What do you think are important qualities in your team? I’d be interested to hear your desired talents and strengths for candidates in the comments below.

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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX