The #1 Trait I Recruit For


The #1 trait I recruit for is RESOURCEFULNESS. I define resourcefulness as the initiative and ability to quickly find answers and solve problems with little outside help. Resourceful employees know where to look for an answer, how to look for an answer, and they won’t stop until they find the answer. The most resourceful employees I know are:

  • Solution-oriented

  • Tenacious

  • Tech savvy

  • Quick learners

What do resourceful employees do that’s different? They follow a two-step formula when learning a job: 1) They get to know the resources available to them: Manuals, policies, databases, company intranet, websites, etc. 2) They regularly use those resources to find answers, or at least to try to find answers before asking someone else. They learn-by-doing. They don’t necessarily wait for someone to show them how to do something before they try to do it themselves.

Why is resourcefulness so important? Many of the small to mid-sized businesses I have recruited for, especially nonprofits, don’t have a lot of training resources. They typically don’t have the budget to send their newly hired employees to expensive trainings or to have a co-worker sit side-by-side training them for long periods of time. This isn’t to say they don’t give the employee the tools, resources, and support to be successful, but it does mean that they need to hire employees who do well learning on their own in addition to learning from others.

How to Identify Resourceful Employees in the Interview

Ask them how they problem solve. A good interview question would be: “Say a customer calls with a question about our eligibility criteria for XYZ community service program, a program you are not familiar with. Walk me through the steps you would take to find the answer.”

If the candidate immediately goes to, “I’d ask my supervisor,” they might not be as resourceful as you need them to be. (Side note- I never judge a candidate on one single interview question. I take into consideration the totality of their application, qualifications, and interview.) 

On the other hand, a resourceful candidate might say something like this: “I saw your eligibility criteria for XYZ community service program on your website. I would go to the website and read the eligibility criteria to the customer.” Or they might say “I would take a look at the materials on the company’s intranet. If I couldn’t find it there, I would also look at the website. If I still couldn’t find it, I’d take a message, ask my supervisor or co-worker, and then get back to the customer.” Boom. Resourceful.

Ask them how they learn. Another good interview question is: “How did you learn to do your past job? What were your most effective training resources?” Pay attention to if the person was at least somewhat self-taught, or if they relied solely on other people to teach them. Also, notice if they sound like they learned-by-doing. A resourceful employee would answer the question like: “I learned by reviewing all of the company’s information, using the company’s intranet and database, and by jumping right in to answer customer’s questions.”

Do you need help hiring resourceful employees?

With over 15 years of recruitment experience, I help clients all over the US hire resourceful employees. I provide efficient and effective recruitment for one-off positions or on an ongoing basis. Let me take the hassle out of recruitment for you by:

  • Creating a customized recruitment strategy and writing an eye-catching job ad

  • Reviewing resumes, phone screening qualified candidates, and scheduling interviews

  • Creating unique, effective interviewing questions

  • Coordinating the job offer

  • Verifying references and employment history

Contact me today:

Skye Mercer, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Skye HR Consulting, LLC / © February 8, 2019, Skye Mercer, All Rights Reserved

Skye Mercer