What qualities, accomplishments, skills, etc. do you look for in a candidate for a position in the rail industry? (Andrew Stahl)

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Really, it’s a balance. Given the particular requirements of the position, the overarching aim is to check as many ‘boxes’ as possible for any candidate under consideration. However, as is often the case, most individuals will not have every skill, experience or attribute requested. In essence, the sought-after skills form as a ‘wish list’ of an idealized individual for the role. And as we all know, life is full of compromises.

At the other end of the so-called teeter-totter is the cultural fit. We actually place a greater weight on this versus simply the skills presented within a resume body. Why? Well, oftentimes specific skills can be learned. And should the individual encapsulate other important aspects required of the role, a particular competency missing needn’t become a significant barrier.

Like with any organization, each candidate is endowed with a personality. Finding a solid, long-term pairing between client and candidate requires looking past the candidate’s resume. That is, the personality (i.e., ‘DNA’) embedded within the candidate is by far more important in determining a proper fit. Succinctly, ‘chemistry’ between both parties must exist.

An old professor of mine used the term ‘mute genius’ in describing an individual while the smartest in the room, nonetheless fails to communicate effectively with others. If the chosen candidate doesn’t mesh nicely within the organization, his/her benefit will be stifled. Thus, not every individual is a match for every position which – on the surface – appears applicable; finding a long-term fit requires a more nuanced approach.