The best quality in a candidate is their teachability
Employer, Job Market

Teachability: A must-have quality for candidates

In a job-rich, candidate-short market, you might not find someone who ticks all the boxes. But, focus on finding the person who can be taught.

In a job-rich, candidate-short market, finding a person who ticks every single box can be difficult. It’s in this type of market we find ourselves talking about the value of teachability. If you’re in the market to hire, now is the time to look for qualities and attributes over hard skills or years of experience.

Hiring for teachability

When searching for the perfect candidate, it’s easy to get bogged down in technical aspects: software program experience, operating systems, project management tools, and coding languages. However, this looks past the fact that no one person is the ‘perfect’ fit right away. Every new team member will require time to learn the ins and outs of their position (such as processes and conventions) and grow into the role.

If you are making this investment, why not choose the candidate who is most teachable, and your outlay has the biggest return?

Teachability is an important value in a candidate

Must-have qualities

A candidate’s drive to succeed is determined by key skills, motivations, personal attributes, attitude, how adaptable they are and willingness to learn.

Key skills include those essential to perform the role like certain qualifications, licenses, or certain experience. Your almost-perfect candidate may have worked on a similar project but with a smaller budget. They may have excellent administration skills but need to learn accounting software to assist with financials. They may be slightly more junior and require more mentorship but have a great foundation.

The teachability of a candidate is generally reflected by a combination of core transferable skills.

This could include:

  • Great time management
  • Adept research skills
  • Flexible
  • Empathetic
  • A critical thinker
  • Problem solver
  • Resilient
  • Effective listener and communicator
  • Ability to work as part of a team and autonomously
  • Ability to apply old skills to new problems
  • Self-motivated.

Man looks for information on teachability

Gauge teachability with two questions

There are two questions you should ask yourself when hiring:

  1. Is the applicant hungry to learn?
  2. Is the applicant capable of learning?

The second really boils down to their ability to receive and incorporate feedback as well as have an active dialogue during the learning process.

If the answer is a resounding yes to both questions, your almost-perfect candidate is likely your absolutely perfect candidate.


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