When you are looking for new hires, you want to hire people who can both represent the company well and complement the rest of your team. Your employees should be the best ambassadors for your brand, so it’s important to get hiring decisions right.

When building your team, it’s important to look for soft skills. You want to hire people who can exhibit emotional intelligence, avoid unnecessary conflict, and help others become better than they are now. You want people on your team who can reinforce your company culture — and even make it better than it currently is — because your company culture can only rise as high as the people who work there.

With artificial intelligence becoming more and more a part of the workplace, humans will become more valuable for what makes them distinctively human. The ability of the people at your workplace to work well with others will be what sets them apart from machines — and from other humans.

Here are three qualities to look for in new hires as you build your team and cultivate your culture:

1. Self-Awareness

One of the first traits to look for is self-awareness. It is important to have the ability to see oneself clearly. When bringing on new hires, you want them to have the ability to recognize what they do well and what they don’t do well.

You want to build a team that doesn’t try to put on a show of bravado or other compensation mechanisms for shortfalls in their character. It’s essential to look for new hires who know who they are and who don’t try to be someone they’re not.

You don’t need perfect people on your team. You need people who are comfortable enough with who they are that they can accept other people as they are.

2. Humility

Another criterion you want to look for in new hires is humility. As important as self-awareness is as a starting point, humility affords someone the ability to hear constructive criticism. You want people on your team who exhibit the humility to listen to hard things and honestly consider what is valid and what doesn’t apply.

You can’t afford to bring on new hires who get defensive easily. You don’t want people on your team who take offense at constructive criticism. You want your team to be able to hear hard things and make the necessary changes in themselves.

Humble people are not weak people. People who exhibit humility are strong because they possess self-awareness. They can listen to what needs to be said and allow it to make them better.

3. Capacity

When bringing on new hires, it’s important to look for a disposition for growth. You want to avoid hiring people who feel that they have learned all that they will learn. Your team should be populated with people who want to become more than they are.

Growth applies to soft skills as well as hard skills. Someone who possesses a potential for growth exhibits self-awareness — so they know who they are— and humility — so they can change. They are willing to be challenged with new information and circumstances that push them past their comfort zone.

Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who would be perfect for the job that you have open now. Hire someone who can do that job and has the capacity for growth.

Here’s the key takeaway. You want a team that will help the company succeed now — and in the future. New hires who have self-awareness, humility, and a growth mindset will serve the company well both now and later. They will help foster a team-oriented culture long after you hire them. When you have a critical mass of people that possess these three qualities, the company has the human resources necessary to do whatever you need to do. They have the ability to be more than just employees: they have the potential to be agents of transformation.

Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies make their ideals actionable.

(1) comment


Anymore an employer is fortunate to find someone who will simply show up on time, all the time.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.