Top Attributes of a Strong Candidate in the New Economy

Don’t fear the new economy…Embrace it!

We have officially stepped into the new normal. The evolution of the job market has witnessed some dramatic change in the last decade. Automation, operational cost management, productivity efficiency and M&A have bestowed a new workforce. One that is driven by higher expectations of performance and stronger measurable results. With less opportunities available and more pressure to succeed, what attributes are potential employers seeking in their candidates?

Do you have what it takes to make a difference? With the ever increasing competition, a candidate must look at an application like an audition for a Broadway show. You stand on line back stage for hours and hours and then finally when you get your moment, you have the stage alone with the spotlight on you and 30 seconds to impress five strangers whose shadows lurk in the distance.

After all that effort, sweating and anxiety, it is now down to a waiting game.

How do you get that edge?
How do you make yourself stand out from the hundreds of other aspiring professionals?
Do you have the right characteristics to be the best?

Here are the some of the top attributes of a strong candidate.

1. Research

It is no longer enough to use the throw it and see what sticks approach to job hunting. You need to understand yourself and find the culture, environment, associate base and feel that will keep you focused, motivated and satisfied. Look within yourself and find out what makes you soar above the clouds. Are you a techie, a conservative, do you excel with process and structure or free flow? Do you believe in a chain of command or a flat organization? Do you want to be in a big global culture or a small intimate boutique? These are the questions you must address as you develop your personal marketing strategy and identify companies that are a “Fit”.

2. Long term growth potential

There was a time when two years and out was a common practice. You learned a new skill, job jumped and got a huge pay increase. Those days are dwindling away very quickly. Companies are investing in their human capital with more value placed on training, performance management, growth and challenge. If you are the type that wants to be part of an organization and continue to growth and harness your soft skills and technical skills, you will stand out.

3. Stability / Loyalty

I know what you are thinking, loyalty is dead. Businesses only care about profit and growth and not their associates. The truth is that you are the profits of the company. Without your expertise, those well oiled machines would not be moving very far. If you show that you believe in the mission, values, believe in the products and services, continue to give your best performance each and every day, that loyalty will pay off very well.

4. Creativity

In the workforce, as in life, many of us fall victim to routine and comfort. We get used to the same commuting route, the same restaurants and even the same way of preparing your coffee. Once a routine is developed, we tend to resist change and with that resistance comes the shackling of creativity. A strong professional will never stop mentally growing. These individuals always seek out need information and new ways of accomplishing tasks. As we look through history, it is the innovators from Da Vinci to Steve Jobs that have shaped culture. You of course do not have to be a universally known innovator, but never let your creative juices rest.

5. Motivation to go to the edge of reason

Throw out the normal. Throw out the accepted principles of life. Throw out process. Dare to take the ultimate risk. A strong performer will be present in meetings, will take in information, research the best possible options and implement effective resolution. Sometimes the answer is not about what has worked in the past, but what will work in the future. Thinking about the alternatives will open more doors and increase your probability of success. Being a risk taker does not always mean you will always be right, but it will define you as a leader of change.

Be fearless!

6. Technology

You don’t have to read the hundreds of thousands of blogs and articles to know that keeping up to date with technology is a critical skill set for any professional from an intern to a CEO. As the business world continues to shape and mold itself, one thing is certain, technology is leading the way. Whether that is cloud solutions, programming/systems or social media, we are only beginning a new age of technological advancement. You better be on this train.

7. Focus

Focus, focus, focus. We cannot emphasis enough about career focus. Every great performer has a set of skills that are strong, consistent and focused. Look at the career of a great leader in industry and as you review their LinkedIn profile or resume you will see their academics, professional experience and social experience are very focused. Look at the profiles of people in your circle (Facebook or Pinterest and you will see certain interest and attributes that are translated well in the personal and professional lives of these individuals. Your career is merely an extension of your own life. That is an important aspect to remember.

8. Compassion, adaptability and teamwork

A great candidate is involved. They share resources and expertise but they also participate in gatherings. A work experience is a complete experience. That includes birthday celebrations, stressful deadlines, client interface, collaboration, routine and even water cooler talk. A strong candidate is adaptable to the diversity of their colleagues and can make proper adjustments to be part of the community. With acceptance is compassion. A career is also being part of a family and this includes deaths, marriages, engagements and other life changes.

Whether you are an individual contributor, strategic leader or on a collaborative team you will be leaned upon for assistance as well as put in a position where you will need assistance. Creating honest alliances will help make life in the office more productive and will extend further to friendships and more.

9. Believe in yourself

As you stand on the starting line, looking at the runners to your left and to your right and await the sound of the gun, your heart races, adrenaline levels are rising and the feeling of competition hits new levels. Your blood is racing as you now realize that all the months and years of hard work come down to the next 10 seconds. Do you have the will to win?

How exciting was that?

If you don’t believe you can win, all the intellect, power and skill will not get you to the finish line.
The first step is the hardest, maintaining that belief in yourself maybe just as hard but the reward at the end is so worth it.

Now you have an edge on the other career seekers so go and get your dream job!

2 thoughts on “Top Attributes of a Strong Candidate in the New Economy

  1. One option is to reach out to former employees via LinkedIn. This is not always the best approach as many times disgruntled employees have a bias against someone or something in the company, but it is an option. There are also websites like that may assist. Otherwise, you can ask a lot of questions in the interview. Interview the interviewer.

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