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We’ve all been there, on the other side of the desk or screen, hoping we’re saying the right things in an interview. Questions, concerns, and self-doubt running circles in our heads.

It can be exhausting to put ourselves out there and go after a new position, and the variables can be dizzying. Never fear, NexGenT is here!

If you’re interested to what a hiring manager is paying attention to, read on and ebb your interview woes with some insights right from the horse’s mouth, a hiring manager and business owner- Wesley Weaver!

Wesley is the founder and CEO of Penumbra PC, was on the leading edge of Cisco integrations while growing up on the front range, and has a solid track record of doing what needs to be done.

Download our FREE GUIDE For Preparing For Technical Interviews

We asked Westley what some of the top traits he looks for when seeking a new hire. He shared with us the main reasons that one of his most recent hires, Erik, has been so successful.

Here are some of the top traits that Wesley looks for as evidence that a new hire will be a rockstar on his team!

Trait 1:

Proactive Work Ethic

When you’re a figure of authority, constant directing and delegation can be taxing. It’s highly likely that the person interviewing you feels that way daily.

Showing that you have initiative, using examples of times you took charge and made sure everything got done on schedule. Show them that you will not be another person they have to check on. Prove that you have the mindset to solve problems and that you value the time of others. 

By doing this you make yourself invaluable and a standout candidate.

Related: Want To Stand Out From Other IT Candidates? Read This First! FSNA & FSNP Could Be Your Answer

Trait 2:

Soft Skills—don’t discount them!

It’s often the skills and mentalities that people pick up throughout life, as well as intentionally work on, that make them stand out the most.    

A quick list of soft skills to bank into:

  • Ask valuable questions
  • Willingness to learn—or even better, genuine enjoyment for learning new skills
  • Strong communication
  • A get-it-done mentality
  • Effective on the spot documentation of tasks and processes
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork mindset
  • Flexibility 

A lot of these soft skills are developed out of schooling and are often what the general hiring managers look for when meeting a candidate. It isn’t always about what someone has a degree or a certification in – but it acts as evidence that the person was able to successfully complete a certification without self-destructing, essentially.

Review this list and decide which of these are your strongest and weakest. See if there are any areas you can dig in to improve and boost your soft skills. Then, find a way to incorporate some of your biggest strengths into your interview answers or past examples.

While watching this video, take note of the examples Westly uses in describing the admirable trait of his new hire, Erik.

Trait 3:

Solid Documentation Habits

Documentation done well can save companies millions of dollars. If you can display the ability to report and consistently keep track of information, that’s golden.

Take for example, if a company like AT&T experiences downtime in a data center, they lose about 5 million dollars per minute! With proper and meticulous documentation to refer to, you could save a company 5 million dollars just by shaving off one minute in the process of getting that data center back up and running. Yes, you read that correctly–a difference of 60 seconds in downtime can save 5 million dollars!

If you’re unsure that you possess this skill, go and build it. Document a recent project, draft up a report for a past event or work experience. 

If you start building the habit now, you can confidently show that you know the importance of documentation and that you have the diligence to follow it through.

Trait 4:

Asking The Right Questions

Wesley emphasizes the importance of asking questions—not only ask questions but to know how to ask the right ones.

“I’m much more interested in how someone asks a question, versus how someone answers a question.” 

So what is “the right” question?

Get into the meat of what you’re inquiring about. The right question isn’t something surface-level that you could quickly ask Siri or do a quick research on your own. Don’t be dependent on others to give you these simple answers.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

-Voltaire

Instead, dive into the questions that will help you improve on a certain level.

  • Avoid basic “yes” or “no” questions
  • Try asking situational questions using real-life examples
  • Dive deep into a topic
  • Ask an expert opinion
  • Be comfortable with silence and allow yourself a moment to process the answer
  • Ditch your fear of asking a question. Be okay with admitting that you don’t know something.

Those who are either too afraid to ask questions or think they know everything and don’t need to ask questions is a big red flag.

Related: The Secret To Writing Mouth-Watering Resumes and Cover Letters Like A Pro

Make it a habit to minimize the things you don’t know by being inquisitive.

We all have these three areas: the things you know, the things you don’t know, and the things you didn’t know you don’t know.

By being inquisitive, you tackle that hidden “Things you didn’t know you don’t know,” area.

To Wrap It Up

Wesley’s recent hire, Erik, is a NexGenT Alumni. When asked what makes Erik an excellent employee, these were the four traits that stood out the most. “He’s got the background. He knows that there are things he doesn’t know. Because he’s got that broad scope of technology. Having been in an environment [NexGenT] where he’s subjected to those different types of technologies, he’s able to ask the right questions.”

Next time you’re preparing for an interview or wondering how to make yourself a better employee, remember: Exhibit a dependable and persistent work ethic, lean into your relevant soft skills, show that you know the significance of efficient documentation, and ask the right questions.

Go out there and crush it!

For information about our Full Stack Network Engineer program and zero tuition upfront, click here to learn more and apply now to see if you qualify.