7 qualities to look for in a candidate during an interview

By Robert Half on 11 June 2024

Hiring for attitude involves incorporating specific strategies and techniques into the hiring process to assess a candidate’s enthusiasm and drive. What qualities do hiring managers look for? From seeking enthusiasm and proactive engagement to evaluating past actions for attitude indicators, here are the top seven qualities they look for during an interview. 

Enthusiasm and proactive engagement 

Enthusiasm is the energy a candidate brings to the interview. Candidates who come with great examples that relate to the position, and can show how they take initiative and are proactive in their approach, convey a lot about their attitude and motivation! 

Immediate impression 

Motivation and attitude can usually be picked up right away from the beginning of the interview. If a candidate is truly motivated and looking to secure a job, that energy, enthusiasm, and positive vibe shines through right off the bat and makes a huge difference. 

Flexibility in work schedules and location 

When assessing a candidate’s attitude and motivation — flexibility is at the top of the list. Being open to different work schedules, open to commute, and willing to work on-site, hybrid, or remote can reveal how eager a candidate is in their search.  

Nonverbal cues and follow-up actions 

Communication is important, but it’s about how someone presents themselves as well. If a candidate is late or a no-show for the video meeting, that demonstrates an unmotivated or uninterested attitude. 

Does the candidate fill out the documents requested? Do they take the assigned testing within 24 hours? All these small pieces add up and are important when assessing a candidate’s interest and motivation in looking for a new job.  

Body language and company alignment 

It is helpful to watch the candidate’s body language, such as eye contact and a pleasant demeanor (smiling, nodding). Ask what the candidates are looking for in their career, and to find their motivation, to see if it aligns with the role. It is imperative to take a candidate’s attitude into account and meet with them because anyone can look great on a resume. 

Virtual interview preparedness 

Being well-prepared for a virtual interview shows that the candidates value the interviewer’s time and are serious about the opportunity. It reflects a sense of responsibility, consideration and overall attitude. 

Past actions for attitude indicators 

Dig into specific ways candidates added value to the company and look for instances when they initiated a process, managed to resolve a conflict, or went above and beyond what was asked of them in their previous work experiences. If the candidate gives a specific story illustrating their accomplishments, it indicates they might have the “right attitude”. 

When hiring, it is important to look beyond the resume and understand that there are specific ways to assess a candidate’s attitude and motivation during the interview process. One of the mantras while looking for some intangible skills such as passion and motivation is “Actions speak louder than words.” It is not always the most bubbly and charismatic candidates who possess the best attitude.

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