What Do You Look For When Recruiting?

10 Minutes

Passion, energy, integrity, aptitude and self-reflection - is that what you're looking for?O...

Emily Jones
Mane Recruitment

By Emily Jones & Mane Recruitment

Passion, energy, integrity, aptitude and self-reflection - is that what you're looking for?

One of my previous managers, said to me once “Skill-set can be taught, mind-set can’t”. I tend to agree with this on the whole, however, I also recognise that we never stop learning and we most definitely can change the way we behave and the way we think. It comes easier to some, but with the right coaching and support, we can always learn and grow.

I have noticed with many clients over the last 5 years or so, that there has been a massive shift towards a candidate’s attitude and behaviours. A candidate's alignment to the company values, recruiting someone that is going to compliment the team and a candidate's preferred behaviours have most definitely moved higher up the recruitment ‘wish list’.

For the next few minutes, let’s assume that candidates have the same skills and experience. What is it then that sets them apart? The answer I believe, is their attitude and behaviour.

Whether recruiting new colleagues at MANE or recruiting for clients, I try only to recruit candidates that demonstrate the right behaviours. I believe the following should be considered and identified during the recruitment process:

Passion and energy

I am looking for people who are going to and more importantly, want to make a difference. If an individual is passionate about what they do, they will more often than not do it well and go above and beyond. I want to recruit people that give a shit, people who share the same values as our organisation (and me) and who can demonstrate these through their previous experiences. Now more than ever organisations (and this is true at MANE) will need people who are passionate about making a difference, employees that will generate ideas and challenge the norm, employees who share the same vision and drive success.


I am not thinking about academic intelligence, A-levels, a degree in a given subject etc. What’s more important to me is emotional intelligence, someone I can relate to and someone our customers can relate to. Someone who can adapt and learn, someone who listens to our customer’s needs, before proposing a solution. People learn in different ways and whilst I appreciate a degree level qualification will be essential for some roles, in my experience it is those that have some life experience and common sense that are often the most successful.


A successful team is built on trust. Trust that goes both ways. The ability to speak up if they have a different opinion or if they don’t agree, the ability to do the right thing when no one else is watching. We all make mistakes, it is part of learning and I look for someone that can hold their hands up when they do. I fully appreciate that individuals and teams will only flourish in this regard if the company culture allows them to do so. So again, this relates to aligning our recruitment to our company values, the fabric that creates our company culture. 


Part of being able to learn and grow is the ability to self-reflect. Some people are better at ‘internal referencing’, others are more naturally drawn to ‘external referencing’. Ideally, I believe we should be looking to recruit ‘balanced referencers’. People who are able to take their feedback from what is going on around them (external) and those that are able to internally reference ‘how did I do there?, what could I have done differently? What was my part in that?

Have we always get it right? Sadly not. We all know the cost of a bad hire. But I am pleased to say that with greater emphasis on people’s attitude and behaviours, we dramatically increase our chances of getting it right and making the ‘superstar’ hire.

I have been lucky enough to work within brilliant recruitment organisations, both agency and internally for International organisations and it is this blended experience that has confirmed my belief that a candidates attitude and behaviours, are just as, if not more important than their skills and experience.





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