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4 Traits that Top Construction and Engineering Candidates Share

Rlm Blog 2019   09   4 Traits Fatured Blog

​What makes a good employee? When you’ve started the hiring process, the answer to this question should inform every stage from the job ad through to the interview and beyond. Knowing which traits indicate a potentially valuable team member will help you to create an efficient hiring process and secure the ideal person for the role.

Read on to discover the top characteristics to look for in a candidate – along with some of our favourite tips for bringing these out in the hiring process.

1. Communication Skills

Communication is vital to both success and safety in the Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing and Infrastructure industries, and therefore communication skills are of the utmost importance in a new candidate. From the moment you first make contact through to the end of the interview, keep an eye out for behaviours and traits that give you an insight into their ability to communicate.

Traits to watch out for include:

  1. Their ability to answer key questions succinctly

  2. Their overall mannerisms – are they loud, soft-spoken, nervous, confident, articulate?

  3. How proactive they have been during the recruitment process? Were you chasing, or being chased? Did they keep in touch and respond promptly at each stage?

  4. Their non-verbal signals, such as how they dress and what their body language tells you.

2. Experience

As any employer knows, ensuring a candidate has relevant experience is key. While hiring for potential can be appropriate in some cases, sometimes the job requires specialised experience and skills that cannot be provided through on-the-job training, even for the right candidate.

From the start, the relevant experience should be laid out concisely in the candidate’s CV, giving you a starting point for questions to ask during the interview. Look for ways to ask specific questions that ensure the candidate is giving you a full answer and examples from past roles, avoiding closed-ended questions entirely. If someone is vague when speaking about their experience or struggles to answer at all, this could be cause for concern.

3. Teamwork

Anyone working in these industries needs to be a team player.

One way to tell if a candidate could fit into your existing team is through the way they present themselves in the interview. This ties into our point about communication skills; if they’re able to come in with a positive attitude and build a rapport with the hiring panel, this could indicate their ability to get along with others on the job – ensuring the comfort and safety of everyone on a project. Likewise, try asking behavioural interview questions around conflict resolution and collaboration to get a gauge of how the candidate has acted in the past.

Key qualities to look out for include:

  1. Patience

  2. Interpersonal skills

  3. Open-mindedness

  4. Empathy

4. Reliability

No matter which role you’re hiring for, reliability goes hand in hand with professionalism. There are three basic traits that show a candidate is reliable – try to find out if they show up on time every day, provide completed work to a consistently high standard, and provide support to others when required. Questions you could ask include:

  1. Have you ever been late to a shift? If so, what did you do in that situation?

  2. Have you ever received negative feedback about your work? What did you do to improve?

  3. Have you ever provided support to other team members? Was this a part of your job description or an active choice on your part?

Don’t forget to crosscheck their answers with their referees as well.

A candidate’s reliability can also be tied to their stability. No one wants to hire a candidate who is likely to leave the business in just a couple of years. While you can never guarantee that someone will be a long-term hire, asking questions such as, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ can help you to gauge an applicant’s intentions.

Another key indicator is the work history as outlined in their CV. Leaving a job early does not necessarily mean anything significant, but a sustained track record of brief tenure could mean that an employee bores easily or doesn’t like to ‘stick it out’ when the going gets tough. The best workers are typically the ones who can overcome adversity and find new challenges in their daily activities.


Ultimately, while all of these traits are highly important factors to consider, the most crucial characteristic of all is that a candidate is open to feedback. From the second they come into the interview through to their first day on the job, any potential employee should be ready for open dialogues and be able to engage with different lines of thinking. It’s those who can learn and grow over time who will generally bring the most value to a business.

Assessing the characteristics of candidates can be tough, as can making a good hiring decision. For expert advice and support when recruiting for Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing and Infrastructure roles, talk to the team at RobLawMax. We can work with you to develop a hiring strategy that will identify the best talent for your business.

Reach out to us at any time to learn more and kick-start your next recruitment journey.