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Top 5 traits I look for in a candidate

#HRLADYSHIP Travel Heather Gupta • May 5, 2017
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During many years of interviewing people in different countries and companies across the world, I’ve developed a list of “must haves” for successful candidates. Obviously I’ll ask competency based questions tailored for specific roles, but here’s the top 5 traits I expect every candidate to demonstrate:

1. Curiosity


People, this is the digital age and Google is a wonderful thing. I don’t mind if your curiosity is limited to your immediate environment, the latest Bollywood movies or even what you’re going to have for dinner tonight, but for God’s sake, show me that you’re curious about something in life! Please also be curious about MY company – a blank look in response to “so why do you want to work here?” won’t get you far. And while I’m on the subject, yes I do expect you to ask me at least one question at the end of the interview!

2. Communication skills


Honestly, I don’t mind if you’re a little bit shy at first. Interviews can be nerve wracking, and I’ll work pretty hard to put you at ease. In return, I expect you to open up and express yourself. If you can’t string a sentence together then I might question your ability to be able to hold your own in a fast paced media environment.

3. The right amount of confidence


Confidence in yourself, your abilities and what you have to offer is great. But let’s face it – arrogance is a turnoff, in life and in an interview. When surety slips into pomposity, we have a problem. Over-confidence, and its close relation, superciliousness (or – looking down your nose at other people) aren’t going to help you convince me that you’ll be a good team player.

4. Give me details


They say that God is in the detail, and this is particularly true when it comes to an interview. It’s very easy to make sweeping statements about what you’ve done in previous roles, especially if you’ve practiced saying them out loud a lot. But if I probe you (and I will), I expect details about how you (not we!) made things happen. Step by step. I want to know exactly how you got the results you’re claiming, so I’ll be confident that you’ll be able to do these things again, in my company.

5. Energy


The word energy can mean different things for different people. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have to bound into my office as though you’ve just downed a can of Red Bull. Some people are naturally energetic in the way they move and speak, others have a quieter kind of energy, but I expect to see it manifested somehow. Call it energy, call it passion, you won’t go far without it in this industry.

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