4 Tips on How to Spot Top Talent

Image of Susan Wittan
Susan Wittan

Not everyone falls into the "top talent" category. There, I said it. When I am recruiting for a position I find many candidates that have the right credentials, experience and competencies… but are they top talent? Just because a candidate has the experience, background and skills for the position does not automatically make them top talent. I find what separates truly top talent from the rest is not always what I’m reading on their resume, it is certain personality traits within each candidate.

Common personality traits among top talent:

1. Ambition

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. Ambitious candidates can only help your company. These are the people that are always looking for ways to improve and be the best they can possibly be and perform at their most productive/ highest ability. These are the people that talk the talk but can actually walk the walk. This is the main ingredient that sets companies up for success. Ambition is what generates creative ideas and innovation. It is the mindset that “good enough” is not good at all.

2. Curiosity

Curious people are learners. They ask questions and listen for the answers. Curious people are not afraid of change; in fact they run after it. People who are naturally curious are always looking for ways to innovate or improve a process and become more efficient.

3. Leadership

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said recently, “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.” With that being said, sometimes I ask myself, could I see myself reporting to this person? This is a great way to evaluate managers and leadership, but the same goes for evaluating a true team player. Could I picture myself working side by side with this person? It’s a great perspective to look at candidates in a different light.

4. Passion

Find someone who truly loves what they do and productivity will be higher because it simply doesn’t seem like work to the individual. While money is a driving motivator in most employees, it won’t always be about the money to passionate people. It is just a part of the equation. A recent study by The Gallup Organization showed that 55% of the U.S. working population is not engaged at work. These are not the people I am looking to hire. Passionate people tend to start their days earlier, feel more fulfilled and lead those around them. This is an important trait if you’re looking for true top talent and a significant addition to your team.

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