15 Non-Negotiable Traits Every New Hire Should Possess

15 Non-Negotiable Traits Every New Hire Should Possess
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Skills and personality are important, but do you really possess the valued traits employers are looking for?

A. Sincere Passion For The Job

Whether it’s a developer, content strategist, PPC manager or designer, I need to know my team is just as passionate about succeeding as I am. Without passion, you have individuals just there for a paycheck, and that is one of the worst hidden dangers in any business. - Daniel Wesley, Quote.com

A. Willingness to Self-Educate

New hires have to be willing to self-educate. People who are willing to learn on their own tend to have the most passion for their jobs and — even if they don't have the most talent — they're more likely to succeed than those who don't stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in their industries. - Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

A. Optimism

I just can't work with or around negative people: They seem to make things appear worse than reality and don't react well during challenging times. On the other hand, optimistic people tend to see things for what they are or even better than they are, and tend to respond favorably to challenges. That's why being optimistic is non-negotiable if you are looking to work for one of my businesses. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Ability to Own a Project

Except for very low-level hires, I only want people who can be given a goal, be informed of the resources, and then put together the plan to execute and be responsible for results. The way you can communicate this in the interview process is by highlighting times when you met a business goal in a way that was not specifically dictated by a superior. - John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

A. Openness

People who are open to new ideas, to alternate ways to achieve success, and who are willing to keep an open mind about others are highly valued on my team. Someone with openness is someone I can depend on to think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions to challenges and problems, which is incredibly valuable to business and profitability. - Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

A. Attitude

With the right hire, new skills and knowledge can always be taught. Attitude, on the other hand, is something that rarely changes. That's why I hire for coachability and a proactive attitude first and foremost. I'd rather have a green employee who is willing to learn our processes than an experienced industry vet who refuses to adapt. - Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

A. An Understanding of the Market

I don't need someone with a great deal of experience — as a matter of fact, sometimes that can be a negative. When I recruit and hire new members to my teams, I want individuals who understand where we fit in, in the whole equation. An understanding of our market is important and knowledge of our point of difference is a bonus. Candidates who understand our market are typically more assertive. - Cody McLain, SupportNinja

A. Discipline

You can train almost anyone to do almost anything. But you can never train someone to be motivated. The problem with motivation is that it can be fleeting. This is where discipline shines. How do you find a disciplined person? See how they handle the small things, such as time sheets and invoices, as it will tell you how they will handle the big things. - Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

A. Strong Communication Skills

Communication is paramount for success in anything in life, especially business. The quicker people can express themselves, the quicker solutions are found. All employees should have stellar communication skills — both written and verbal — and leaders should provide additional training to increase these skills. - Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

A. Ability to Mesh With Team

There's no substitute for culture. It doesn't matter how talented someone is, if they don't mesh well with your team, then it can turn into a huge negative for the organization. Focus on how they interact with your team during the interview, and pay close attention to their communication and work ethic once they join. My experience has been that if someone isn't a fit early, they won't become one. - Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

A. Compassion

We're in the business of helping people succeed, often meeting them at one of their toughest moments. To meet our client's needs, our team has to be supportive and compassionate. So every member of our team has to treat each other with similar compassion and support. - Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

A. Lateral-Thinking Skills

I always seek out potential new hires who possess advanced lateral-thinking skills. More than an academic degree from an ivy league school, I am looking for lateral thinkers who can develop creative solutions to bolster our current initiatives and projects. Someone that is inherently innovative and that can be relied upon for delivery of creative solutions is invaluable to any business. - Luigi Wewege, Vivier Group

A. Mindset

“Hire for attitude, train for skill,” has been my personal mantra for years, and hasn’t failed me yet. Hire those who have the right mindset. Getting the job done is not enough for this increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s about having a team ready to pivot, grow and change at a moment’s notice. You need people willing to innovate and adapt constantly without losing their motivation. - Ajit Nawalkha, Evercoach

A. Organization

Organization is a major key to success. We need to make sure that whoever we work with is diligent about being, and staying, organized and there are easy ways to tell if someone is an organized person. We ask new hires how they schedule their time, what technology they use to stay organized and what a typical day looks like for them to gain insight into their personal habits. - Beth Doane, Main & Rose

A. Unquenchable Curiosity

When evaluating new hires, we are looking for someone who will join our team and see things differently, not just follow instructions. In our experience, that almost always comes from curiosity. Curious team members ask why (one of our core principles), question our assumptions, lead us in interesting new directions, and raise the energy and morale of the company. - Zach Obront, Book in a Box

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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