08 September 2022 13:46:08 IST

Kamal Karanth is CoFounder of Xpheno, a specialist staffing company he has been building since 2017. Before turning an entrepreneur, Kamal worked as MD of Kelly Services and as Director APAC for Randstad, where he built teams that grew and created extraordinary results. Today, his team members are making an impact as leaders across the talent acquisition, HR, and staffing domains. A movie buff and cricket enthusiast, Kamal is a believer in relationships and has been writing monthly columns for The Hindu BusinessLine since 2016. LinkedIn ranked him among the top voices of India in 2020 for his consistent influencing blogs and vlogs around workplace dynamics. He is a talent specialist in RPO, IT staffing, and executive search.

What does a hiring manager look for in a candidate?

Two people are standing at a table, across from each other. Their hands grasp each others in a firm handshake. On the table sits a contract of employment. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

W hat are three qualities in an applicant an HR head looks for so as to make sure they will be successful at the workplace? Rohan Pandey

The answer to your question could be as long as a full list of active companies Rohan! What the HR head or hiring manager seeks from an applicant is highly contextual to the enterprise and the role in point. Factors such as enterprise's phase of growth, existing leadership style, and market dynamics of the role, define the qualities managers look for in an applicant.

Often the hiring manager could also differ in expectations based on their personal context. Hiring Managers tend to use themselves as the quickest frame of reference —  how much of themselves they see in a candidate defines the runway for a hiring decision over a candidate.

From my experience, the top three commonly considered qualities are the 3Rs —  relationship, relevance, and resilience. The ability to build, maintain and enhance relationships are a key to the success of any role in any organisation for any level of experience. While the interview by itself could be too short an interaction for assessing the relationship skills, the experience that the applicant creates for the manager in that short window goes a long way.

An applicant’s natural drive for relevance and staying updated in his or her field and function is a key quality for sustainable success. Applicants who are seen making genuine investments and visible efforts towards their expansion are considered assets to hire. The expression of relevance is one of productive curiosity and confident articulation of being up-to-date and on top of developments in their area of work.

Resilience is seemingly the hardest of the 3Rs to be assessed during an interview. Experienced interviewers look for clues in the applicant’s past decisions and reasoning for movements. Clues point to the applicant’s ability to not just bounce back from difficult situations, but also the time is taken for the recovery. Resilience is an essential quality for success in the VUCA world of work.

The 3Rs apart, the point to note is that parameters for success in the workplace are transient and evolve with time and progress. An employee who is agile enough to go with the flow of shifting expectations is well set on the pathway to success.