What is the most desirable skill or trait in a candidate?

As a recruiter, it’s very important to understand your client for many reasons. Delving into these reasons far outweighs the scope of this article and probably deserves it’s own chapter in a book. The area in which I’m focusing on for this specific article is understanding what your client believes the most important factor during their hiring process.

It’s all happened to us before – you’ve spoken to a candidate on the phone that comes across so well. Their CV is also exactly what the client have asked for – they’ve got years of experience in the relevant sectors, are extremely ambitious and driven, and would be great to further develop the company. They’ve got stats to prove it. They sound great. You’ve finally found the ‘perfect candidate’, and submit them to the client, who agrees to interview them. As you eagerly call your client to find out how it went, the response is ‘sorry, I don’t think they’ll fit in here’ – damn.

On the flip side, I’ve spoken to candidates who aren’t experienced enough – they’ve admitted it themselves, but no harm in trying eh? They’re very driven and motivated to improve. You submit them. They get the job. The candidate is just as surprised as you’re. It clearly stated in the job spec you received that they needed to have experience sticking Kinder Egg halves together. So, how did that one happen?

Sometimes,  other factors come into play – likeability factor, or a candidates potential, for example, can be just as important as possessing the correct skill-set. It’s important to remember not everyone can see things the same way. There are also numerous skills someone can have that aren’t on their CV which a hiring manager thinks can add extreme value to the team. Having a character in the team that makes the rest of the team perform better, although may not have the most amazing skill-set would have great value in the workplace. Having that person that brightens everyone’s day, can really enhance the teams productivity, or make someone’s working life that little bit more enjoyable.

I’m from a coaching background, so have always been really interested in social dynamics and how individuals respond to group environments.  I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences of clients you’ve worked with, and what they believe is the important skill when hiring new candidates.

Adam Williams

Technical & Engineering Consultant

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