What characteristics make candidates attractive, part 1

As a People Culture specialist at PicsArt, two of the most common questions I get asked are, ‘How can I join your company?’ and, ‘What are the main qualities you look for in a candidate?’

My answer usually begins along the lines of, ‘You need to meet the requirements for the job, but…’ There’s a ‘but’ because PicsArt is a company where attitude is one of the most important attributes in a potential employee.

Every company has its own corporate culture. People create that culture. And companies carve their way to success through hard-working employees who can collaborate effectively with each other.

What is ‘attitude’?

Attitude is the basis on which we think, act, and behave. Attitude guides us in how we perceive the world, how we face new challenges, and in how we treat ourselves and others. You can teach technical skills to almost anyone, but it’s a lot harder to teach someone how to take care of others, how to encourage and support others, and how to celebrate others’ achievements.

Successful companies hire people who have a positive attitude. This often means not hiring:

  • People whose attitude doesn’t align with the wider company culture
  • People who have attitude problems

There are no universal high performers. But it’s important to find those who are right for our company.

How do we do that?

  1. Create a list of all the desirable characteristics (remember, this should be realistic)
  2. Decide which characteristics might result in failure and which might result in success

At PicsArt, being a team player is one of the most important characteristics we look for in a potential employee. Like other companies, we also value discipline, curiosity, focus, passion, sense of ownership, empathy, responsibility, enthusiasm, eagerness to grow.

A non-desirable characteristic would be arrogance. Single-handedness, dishonesty, distrust, rigidness, and intolerance can also be red flags for many companies.

It’s important to create your list and have it ingrained in mind. Your list should be based on your vision. Let’s say you build a team from scratch to work on a new project: you’ll need people who are independent, creative, open, conscious, and curious. But characteristics that can help you in startup projects might not suit a mature, experienced, traditional, hierarchical company.

In most cases, a positive attitude results in openness. Openness to experience is one of the key characteristics of the ‘Big Five Personality’ type, interpreted by the Canadian Professor of Psychology, Jordan Bernt Peterson. Openness to experiences has two main aspects: creativity and intellect. Open people are often considered original, imaginative, creative, complex, curious, and having broad interests. We can refer to a person as creative if they can generate novel and abstract ideas.

Intelligence describes a person’s ability to learn, analyze, and manipulate abstract ideas simultaneously. Here, the most important question is, ‘Why do companies / talent acquisition teams need to know about this?’

The answer is that the world is developing in a spectacular way. Everything is changing so fast that we are unable to keep up. AI increasingly ‘replaces’ human endeavour, and each year thousands of employees lose their jobs because of the automation of their processes and professions. This is why being open to new experiences can help us adapt to new environments, reframe our mindset, work with new technologies and tools so that we can become in-demand candidates for the best companies.

Summing up, what do you need to join a great company? A positive attitude and openness to new experiences.

And finally, let me drop a quote I like from a Senior Sales Consultant at Tesla: “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”

Create your opportunities, and you might be surprised by how far your potential can take you.

Sources:

  1. Discovering personality with Dr. Jordan B. Peterson https://courses.jordanbpeterson.com/personality
  2. Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude, Mark Murphy, 2016

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