Factors That Constitute the Right Candidate: What to Look for Before Hiring?

Factors That Constitute the Right Candidate: What to Look for Before Hiring?

Employment & HR

STOrai Magazine

STOrai Magazine

71 week ago — 9 min read

India is slated to be the world’s third largest economy by 2030. 75 years ago, when this nation made a ‘tryst with destiny at the stroke of midnight’, it was among the world’s poorest countries. Who would have thought that it would grow 55 times with a share of 7.75 per cent of the world’s GDP?


Let’s step back and look at India’s economic landscape. We are primarily a domestic demand-driven economy with consumptions and investments contributing to nearly 70 per cent of the economic activity. According to the Reserve Bank of India analysis of 10,000 listed companies, businesses have seen a steady net profit-to-sales growth over the past year. This leads to very healthy optimism about our growth factors.


As we make giant strides to join the $5 trillion club, one of the key factors contributing to this leap would be our demographic dividend. India has 62 per cent of its population in the age group of 15-59 years, which is ever increasing and will be at its peak around 2036, when it will approximately be around 65 per cent. Other factors helping us transform into a knowledge economy include availability of human capital, a democratic system of education, widespread use of English language, macroeconomic stability, a dynamic ecosystem of domestic and global corporates, a well-developed financial sector, broad and diversified science and technology infrastructure, and global niches in IT.


It would be interesting to peel the onion at the corporate & individual level & explore what it means for the job market. In an economy driven by knowledge, academic & cognitive skills are a given. The next level of competencies can be classified as workplace competencies - a set of skills that are complementary to academic or technical skills.


The workforce, therefore, is 'upskilling' in terms of average educational levels as well as the types of jobs they are performing; more white-collar skilled jobs are driving growth.


With the above macro-economic factors in the play, it would be interesting to peel the onion at the corporate and individual level and explore what it means for the job market and job seekers. In an economy driven by knowledge, academic and cognitive skills are a given. That one would basically understand, know or learn to perform the job is taken for granted. This takes us to the next level of competencies which can be very simply classified as workplace competencies - a set of skills that are complementary to academic or technical skills. These skills can broadly be classified into three categories:

  • Intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal
  • Technological


Most employers today give weight to these skills when making hiring decisions. Additionally there is enough and more evidence to suggest that such skills are required for individuals to function effectively in the new age organisational structures.


Intrapersonal Skills

Critical thinking and problem solving

This is necessary for almost each and every job. Individuals must be able to analyse evidence, question assumptions, draw conclusions and solve problems using data effectively. This is not just a skill but a lifelong habit formed to help with problem solving.


Effective communication

Most mentioned and hardly appreciated, this is one of most primitive human skills. Effective communication is essential to inform, motivate, establish authority/ control, and allows for emotive expression. Above all it is vital to create a sense of social cohesion thus, paving the way for a positive culture in the organization.


Work ethic

A strong work ethic allows one to focus on work, persevere, and demonstrate dependability and responsibility. It flows from a robust willpower to highly value one’s professional life, be courageous and commit to get the job done. Individuals with work ethic appreciate that hard work is a natural part of their jobs and aren’t hesitant to put in extra hours. Because of their exemplary determination and commitment these individuals are highly sought after by employers.


Learning agility

This is a skill crucial to professional success. A recent study by Korn Ferry showed that executives with high levels of learning agility are 5 times more likely to stay highly engaged and companies with particularly agile individuals have 25% higher profit margins. People who are demonstrate learning agility are able to learn in unfamiliar situations, question the status quo, discover patterns and seek new challenges. Employers prefer individuals who display these traits and are able to learn from their experiences and apply new knowledge to new and challenging situations. This becomes even more critical as we transition from a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world to a BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, Incomprehensible) world.


A recent study by Korn Ferry showed that companies with particularly agile learning individuals have 25% higher profit margins. People who demonstrate learning agility are able to learn in unfamiliar situations, question the status quo, discover patterns and seek new challenges. 


Interpersonal Skills


Team Work

This is the ability to collaborate in pursuit of a common goal. A team player will always prioritize the goals of their team over individual interests. Well-functioning constructive teams are essential for the success of a workplace. Individuals that possess critical team skills work well with managers, colleagues, clients and a variety of business stakeholders. Employers prefer such candidates because they maintain a strong work culture and help the company achieve its goals.


Leadership Skills

Having good leadership skills is not strictly about supervising or managing others. Employers today are looking for everyday leaders. These are individuals that take charge, speak-up, volunteer, assume responsibility, display empathy, establish credibility and are able to steer the collective towards a common cause without any formal authority.



Workplaces are becoming more and more diverse. Employers value candidates who are able to understand and share the feelings of others. A strong mindset of empathy allows individuals to increase understanding of their own and others’ worldview thereby creating an environment where everyone feels respected and valued. In a world that is becoming a melting pot, empathy is the skill for today and tomorrow.


Technological Skills

Technology Prowess

The pandemic established technology as a critical element of our work. The requisite skills are essential to deploy and manage new business paradigms, and include ability to work with Internet of things (IoT), cloud-based programs, automation, AI and Enterprise Management Systems.


Digital Engagement

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the horizon organisations are investing not just in technologies but also in people who understand that technology is an essential.


A digital mindset is not merely the ability to use technology. It is a congregation of attitudes and behaviours that enable people to foresee possibilities. People with a digital mindset facilitate strategic as well as tactical shifts by:

  • Using technology to democratize teams and processes
  • Grasping the impact of interconnections
  • Accelerating the scale of action and output


No surprises that digital mindset is a much needed skill by all employers today.


Acquiring skills is a lifelong process that goes a long way in personal fulfilment. As humans we are naturally curious and desirous to explore, learn and grow. This is what encourages us to improve our life and develop a sense of self-worth by pursuing ideas and goals that inspire us.


Also read: Switching up your team? Nine must-do’s for executive hiring success


Article source: Dhaarna Arora for STOrai Magazine. Dhaarna is Head HR - Central Supply Chain, Reliance Retail. She is a seasoned Human Resources professional. In her experience of last 22 years, she has worked with large complex organisations in BFS and Retail. She is passionate about adding real value to business through meaningful people agenda. Her core strengths lie in the area of transformation and change management.


Image source: Canva


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