October 6, 2015

Numerous traits have been found to be associated with job success. Smart hiring managers and employers understand which ones matter and consciously use them as predictors in the hiring process. Although the importance of each can vary within the context of a position, there are still common denominators. Below we offer the top three traits to always look for in your candidates given their presence together is highly correlated with success.

General intelligence

General intelligence is essential for success in any position. This is the ability to learn, understand, and reason. An employee with higher levels of intelligence can likely adapt to changes fluidly, comfortably take the initiative and perform their job duties faster and without error. Additionally, raw intelligence is mostly static. This means that you cannot cultivate intelligence to support greater job duties or responsibilities down the road. Thus, intelligent employees will be less limited in their ability to grow within a company.


If you could only base a hiring decision on one trait, passion would undoubtedly be the best choice. It is a necessary component in all successful personas. Within every high achiever, is an unrelenting passion and energy for what they are doing. This drives them to learn, perfect, and surmount failure. They are also compelled to make a positive, lasting mark within their profession.


While morality is a set beliefs concerning right and wrong, integrity is the level in which these beliefs are adhered to. The value of a moral employee with integrity cannot be overstated. These individuals will strive to act in accordance with what is right for the company without any oversight. Moreover, an understanding for both is important. Otherwise, you may hire a immoral person who has exceptional integrity or a moral person with terrible integrity. These traits, of course, can be difficult to determine during the hiring process. Behavioral interviewing can be very helpful if implemented correctly.

There is a wide array of traits that can be used as predictors for future job success. The three listed above are generally fundamental and present in high performers. It is critical to remember, however, that it is not just about finding either intelligence, passion or integrity in a candidate but the combination of all three.

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