Within an organization, some skills are far more valuable than others. If your business is looking to hire new employees, then determining if candidates possess these important skills should be the primary focus of your interviews.
Knowing what skills are crucial for an enterprise to grow and thrive can help you figure out if an employee is worth hiring, even if they aren’t an exact match in other areas of the job description. Sometimes a company needs more than just the right technical qualifications from its employees.
This is why we asked 16 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
What is one essential skill to look for in an employee or new hire, and why?
My team looks for people who are resilient and who can thrive and adapt no matter what happens. We look for people who have a track record of performing through adversity and can provide examples of performing well when faced with challenging situations. This has been critical to building a team that can get through the tough times together. —Diana Goodwin, MarketBox
2. Humility and perseverance
I look for two characteristics in a new employee: humility and perseverance. I want to hire someone who does not take themselves too seriously and has also experienced and overcome very hard times in their business or career. This creates the humility and, for those that come out of the other side stronger, perseverance. —Gregor Watson, Roofstock
3. Critical thinking
We love critical thinkers because critical thinking requires you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information. —Kevin Urrutia, Voy Media
We are always looking for signs that someone is truly curious in an interview. Curiosity is helpful in our company because every role needs to be learning about new clients and new industries on an ongoing basis. But really, for any job it’s helpful to have a healthy curiosity to want to learn as much as you can about the role and the industry. —Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
Employees who are adaptive and are constantly aware of new trends show they have the ability to innovate. That understanding will allow them to think outside the box when facing certain challenges, which can lead to creative solutions. —Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
One essential skill for an employee or a new hire is initiative. It’s very important for the employee to take initiative in learning the things they must know in order to perform their work efficiently. It’s important for them to listen, to ask questions, review information, and learn about the way to do things in the company. By doing this, the employee later will be ready to propose new solutions. —Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
7. Reliability and no drama
We have a “no drama” rule at our company. No matter how talented the person is, they can’t create drama. Don’t bring personal issues to work, don’t bring in politics, and overall just be reliable. This will make for a better employee and work environment. —Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
8. Desire to lead change
For C-suite or leadership hires, look for that spark and desire to create real change in your business. In the current market, nothing is more dangerous than stagnating and becoming irrelevant to your community. Leadership that knows the landscape and is ready to spark positive innovation and change is truly valuable. —Thomas Smale, FE International
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9. Tenacity to learn
The biggest skill set anyone can bring is their tenacity to learn. When a candidate comes in with an aptitude to learn more and a desire to grow, it means they will be a value to your business. Through learning, they can teach others and apply what they know into the success of the team and the company. —Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
10. Listening skills
If your employees refuse to listen to feedback or take others’ opinions into consideration, then they won’t take the company far. You need team leaders who can grow with the company and bring it to higher levels of success, which is impossible when someone lacks listening skills. You must listen to others to learn new things and do things better. If someone refuses to listen, it’s best to move on. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
Someone who is open-minded possesses many desirable qualities. These people are flexible and are able to adapt when situations change or challenges arise. They are also interested in continuing to learn new skills and improve expertise. Since they are also typically positive-minded individuals, their ability to motivate others to see the bigger picture—and enjoy each step along the way—is priceless. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
I look for new employees who have the patience to learn. If you want to find someone worthwhile, you have to get team members who are willing to explore new processes, develop their skills, and find new ways to innovate. It’s easy to teach these people new skills and help them grow throughout your company. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC
13. Organizational skills
Organizational skills are essential in an employee. Employees must balance an array of tasks, be able to communicate with coworkers, and be able to delegate responsibilities to other employees, as well as set up meetings and calls. —Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow
14. Strong work ethic
One extremely important trait that my new hires must have is a strong work ethic. I want people who will work hard, who will care immensely about the work they are doing, and who will be reliable, dependable, and responsive. —Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc
15. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a skill you need to work on to obtain and practice diligently. If your team lacks emotional intelligence, they won’t be able to work together cohesively and bring about positive results for your business. They need to understand where everyone is coming from in order to collaborate effectively. —Jared Atchison, WPForms
16. Communication skills
Being able to communicate well is a major skill for anyone. When it comes to hiring someone new, the ability to communicate can easily tip the scale for the person who’s doing the hiring. Communication can make training and onboarding easy. The new hire will fit in faster with the rest of the organization, and they’ll grow too, since they’re able to ask questions and discuss things. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
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