Traits for the Future


Today, human resource departments are in a constant struggle to find the best talent. Competition from other companies for skilled workers is fierce.

But, even more unsettling is hiring for the future. With the pace of change in technology and business, today’s skills might be obsolete tomorrow. The question is, how can businesses stay ahead of the curve and hire the people they will need to adapt to tomorrow’s challenges, where skills we don’t even know about yet will be needed to survive?

Business consultant Jim Roddy argues the way to do it is not just to hire people for specific skills, but for certain character traits. These are traits people will need to adapt and grow into the future, to be prepared to meet the technological and strategic challenges of tomorrow.

The first trait, Roddy says, is ambition. People with ambition are compelled to reach their potential, to improve themselves and their company. When interviewing, the traditional question of where you want to be in two or five years will usually give you a good idea of a person’s ambition. Does the candidate’s answer tell you that she’s driven to excel, or will she just be collecting a paycheck?

The second trait is a commitment to continual self-improvement through learning. A question to determine this trait is to ask the applicant what books have had the most effect on her career. Another important related trait is the individual’s emotional maturity, and this involves what she’s learned about herself.

Another trait to look for in a job candidate who can handle change is responsibility, according to Roddy. To gauge this trait, you can ask the candidate how she responded after she made a large mistake. Was she willing to take responsibility for it?

And this ties into another important trait necessary for adapting to change – humility. Humility is the willingness to admit when you have made a mistake, the willingness to accept criticism and take it seriously. This all ties into the ability to recognize when things are off course and a correction needs to be made. A person with humility can accept and address where she has shortcomings.

A final trait you need to look for in job candidates is perseverance. It is the ability to overcome obstacles, to continue plugging along until a job is accomplished, to remain steady and calm in the face of changing conditions. You need to find out how the candidate has shown perseverance in the past. A question about how she handled long-term projects dealing with complex problems is one way to determine her perseverance.

Looking for skilled and reliable professionals in the engineering, construction or architecture sectors? Then call upon the recruiters at RealStreet Staffing. We look forward to hearing how we may be of service.

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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