Every employer has “the list” when it comes to hiring new employees—those skills and personality traits that they strive to find in prospective candidates. Unfortunately, the tight labor market may require a new way of thinking. While some job seekers may not check off every item on your list today, they may show signs that they will grow into long-term top performers if you give them a chance. Here are some signals that you may be talking to a great new hire who might otherwise be overlooked.

Exceptional employees

Topnotch Communicator: Every position in a company requires effective communication. A candidate who demonstrates strong skills in this area is one worth considering. Look closely at job seekers’ interactions with your company to see how they present themselves. Are they polite, positive, and grammatically correct? Are they able to articulate why they want to work for you? Do they get to the point quickly without being abrupt? Do they acknowledge other points of view in an accepting, nonconfrontational way? If so, they may be demonstrating strong communication skills that could benefit your business.

Passionate and Positive: Businesses need employees with positive attitudes to keep morale and productivity high, as well as to maintain a pleasant company culture. When interviewing prospective employees, pay attention to their passion for the position as well as what kind of attitude they project. If you sense this is more than a job for them and that they’re eager to contribute, you could be adding a stellar employee to your ranks.

Exceptional References: What others say counts. If a reference indicates that a candidate worked hard and learned fast, this may be a good hiring bet even if you will need to train the newcomer in some aspects of your business. If references also mention the job seeker’s can-do attitude, she or he may belong on your must-hire list.

Professionalism: A professional demeanor from the beginning to end of the hiring process is important to note. Some key areas to consider: Were cover letters properly addressed and formatted; did the candidate smile, make eye contact, and shake your hand when greeting you; was a thank-you note or email sent after the interview; and were they kind and respectful to your receptionist and other employees? These are all signs that the job seeker will bring professional behavior to your workplace.

Recruiter Vetted: Often, it can save time and money to work with a recruiter that specializes in finding the right candidate for your company. Recruiters are skilled at seeing traits that fit well with specific companies, and they also know how to vet incoming applicants for qualities that less experienced interviewers might overlook.

Ready to find your next great hire? Contact us today.