characteristics of strong job candidateBringing new talent aboard is stressful. After all, you’re wagering time and money in the hopes that a new employee will offer a return on investment once properly trained. Determining which candidate is the surest bet is fraught territory, often leading employers to pay special attention to “red flags” for fear of a dud pick. But, too much focus on the negative can result in overlooking potential strengths—the “green flags”—resulting in a hire who is just fine…but not outstanding.

But your firm NEEDS outstanding talent.

Below is a list of positive qualities that you’ll want to look out for the next time you’re conducting interviews:

Loads of Experience
This one goes without saying, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t underscore the value of experience. A hire that can dive headlong into the fray saves time, money, and lightens the burden other employees carry as the new team member is oriented to their given task. However—and this is important—simply having loads of experience isn’t enough of a green flag to negate a lack of “human” characteristics. Check out our blog, ‘4 Reasons to Run Away from a Qualified Candidate’ and learn why that perfect, sparkling resume you’ve always dreamed about isn’t always as perfect and sparkling as you imagined…

This isn’t the same as having experience. Prepared candidates show up to the interview able to explain how they fit perfectly into this new position. They will have examples on hand and will know their value. Always ask about desired salary, as a candidate with a clear idea of what they expect to earn is one who has done their homework.

The current generation changes jobs more than their predecessors. While this is often in response to economic trends or factors beyond our control, obsessive job hopping is a red flag. When you stumble upon a candidate with a history of stable employment, be certain to bump their résumé to the top of the pile. Knowing that your new hire will stick around pays dividends as you seek to grow your firm.

Strong Work Ethic and Positive Attitude
These two characteristics often go hand in hand. An employee who brings joy to their task is more likely to see it through to the end. What’s more, enthusiasm is infectious, and having someone on board who loves what they do will inspire similar sentiments in others. Don’t pass on the chance to hire someone who will not only do their job well, but inspire others to do the same!

Good Communication Skills
Pay special attention to a candidate’s speaking and writing skills in the interview, as such qualities bring extended value. An employee who is able to clearly advocate for themselves is one who brings efficiency and professionalism to their task. In addition, strong communication skills often translate to effective team building, as everyone works more efficiently when they know their role.

While it’s rare that an applicant arrives with all of the above, it’s worth adding a mental set of “green flags” to your criteria when engaging a new hire. If you only scan for potential pitfalls in the interview process, you risk missing qualities that add positive value to your company. This doesn’t mean ignoring red flags or engaging in naïve optimism; it simply means assigning equal value to both positive and negative characteristics when assessing a candidate.

Of course, hiring is a complicated and nuanced process, and knowing how to read a candidate—starting with the initial phone interview—is a learned skill. Through our SmartHire Solution™ process, we’ve developed a spot-on system for finding, recruiting, interviewing, on-boarding and training based on the unique needs of your firm. We use advanced personality assessments to ensure a new hire will “fit” with your current team, and fill the right gaps in your firm’s workforce.

Whether your firm is struggling with staffing, or ready to hire the next superstar team member, we can help. Schedule a free 30-minute discovery session with our founder, Molly McGrath, and get started on staffing your law firm with people who will contribute to increased productivity and profitability.

THE fix my boss workBOOK



This workbook is intended to be used in conjunction with the book, "Fix My Boss" to cultivate respect, risk courageous conversations, and increase the bottom line. The exercises and activities provided will guide you through a step-by-step process of understanding, analyzing, and taking action to create positive change in your workplace.

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